The Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) has approved the hiring of a Cuban coach for the national boxers before the 2012 London Olympics, giving the Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) some hope before the qualifying event.
The decision was taken during a meeting between the top officials of both bodies in Islamabad where a number of issues were discussed to lift the sport.
“We have received a green signal to hire a Cuban coach,” PBF Secretary Akram Khan told The Express Tribune. “It is a huge boost because we were badly missing an expert trainer.”
The PBF, due to shortage of funds, had to release Cuban coach Francisco Hernandez Roldan last December under whom the country clinched two bronze medals in the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
After his departure, the national boxers managed a single bronze medal via Mohammad Waseem out of various international outings this year. However, there are no chances of a Cuban trainer arriving before this month’s World Championship that will act as the first Olympics qualifiers.
“We will be sending our request to the Cuban sports ministry shortly. The coach will train the boxers for the second Olympics qualifying tournament in Kazakhstan in March because the first qualifier is just a week away.
“We will welcome Roldan but it is up to his country to choose him or some other trainer.”
The secretary added it was also decided in the meeting to hold three joint training camps in Islamabad where foreign teams will also be invited.
Plans for 2016 Olympics
While the national boxers struggle to qualify for the London Games, the PSB and the PBF have formulated a plan for the 2016 Olympics.
“We will hold a two-month under-16 training camp in four major centres. The camps will be set up in Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta after which a ranking tournament will be held to scout for the best talent. “The best boxers from the process will be selected for advanced training in order to prepare them for the 2016 Olympics.”
Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2011.