KARACHI: Pakistan boxers start their preparations for a berth at the 2012 London Olympics next week at the World Championships which act as the qualifying event for the global event.
The competition will be held in Baku, Azerbaijan from September 22 to October 10 and will see the world’s best amateur boxers taking part.
For Pakistan, winning is seen as a next-to-impossible assignment after an unimpressive show by the country’s boxers in recent tournaments.
The Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF), owing to financial issues and lack of ideal choices, has decided to send just five boxers to the event - the quarter-finalist of which will be marching to the Olympics.
The team includes the Commonwealth Games medallists Mohammad Waseem (49kg), currently the country’s most successful boxer, and Haroon Khan (52kg), brother of world champion Amir Khan (65kg). Nisar Khan (75kg), Karachi-based Aamir Khan (65kg) and unheralded Mohammad Hussain (55kg), nephew of Olympian Asghar Ali Shah, will also accompany the team.
The training camp will start at the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) under the supervision of coach Ali Baksh.
Meanwhile, a boxer who took part in the Asian Confederation Championship in Korea where Pakistan returned empty-handed from, is being ‘realistic’ about Pakistan’s lost hopes.
“As a player, I’m looking forward to a good show,” the pugilist told The Express Tribune. “But I’ll be honest and realistic. We don’t have a very good chance of winning. The boxers from Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and China are better trained than us.”
PBF remains hopeful
However, the PBF remained optimistic and hoped for at least a couple of Olympics berths.
“We have high hopes from Waseem and Haroon,” said a PBF official. “The other boxers who have been selected also have potential.”
The national boxers failed to get a single berth at the 2008 Beijing Olympics while a total of five boxers represented the country in 2004 Athens Olympics. Pakistan have so far clinched a lone Olympics medal through Hussain Shah at the 1988 edition in Seoul.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 23rd, 2011.