Five named for boxing qualifiers

Waseem, others look to seal Pakistan’s berth in London.


Nabeel Hashmi March 27, 2012

KARACHI: After all the drama and cries of favouritism, Muhammad Waseem finally got a second chance to seal his place in the London Olympics after being awarded the 52-kilogramme slot by the Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) which named five boxers for the Asian round of qualifiers to be held in Astana, Kazakhstan from April 4.

Waseem was forced to take part in the earlier qualifying event in the 49-kg category, with the PBF opting to push Haroon Khan, younger brother of Amir Khan, for the 52-kg category. However, following Waseem’s gold-winning effort in the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto International Boxing Championship, the PBF left it up to him to decide the category.

Apart from Waseem, Nisar Khan Sona (49kg), Naimatullah (56kg), Haider Riaz (64kg) and Zulqarnain (69kg) will be carrying Pakistan’s hope to Kazakhstan with Majeed Brohi and Arshad Hussain travelling as coaches.

“We wanted to send our team to Astana on March 17 but couldn’t do so because of lack of funds as the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) failed to release our grant,” the PBF Secretary Akram Khan told The Express Tribune. “We have good boxers who can qualify for the Olympics but the draw holds the key. We don’t know who we will be facing as yet. Hopefully we’ll get some easy matches early on so our pugilists can get into rhythm going into the later stages.”

Meanwhile, Brohi said that all the players are in top form and they will give the local boxing fans something to cheer about.

“I am really optimistic because our players have attained great form going into the qualifiers,” said Brohi. “We were practising with Central African boxers, who are in the final stages of the African qualifiers.”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 28th, 2012.

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