KARACHI: The last remaining Pakistan boxers Mohammad Waseem and Haroon Khan bowed out of the Commonwealth Games with losses in the semi-finals but ensured a bronze each for the country in their respective categories.
Waseem, who won gold in the Combat Games held in August, succumbed to his Namibian opponent Jafet Uutoni in a one-sided affair in his light-flyweight (49-kilogramme) semi-final. The 21-year-old, who won his previous bouts comprehensively, looked completely off-colour as he was thrashed by 10-1.
“I was under pressure in the beginning and didn’t play up to my potential,” Waseem told The Express Tribune. “I’m really disappointed not to have reached the final here in New Delhi.”
Khan loses amid controversy
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Bolton-based boxer Khan lost his semi-final bout against India’s Suranjoy Mayengbam 9-3 with Pakistan’s management blaming biased umpiring for the defeat.
“Khan dominated his opponent throughout the fight and was able to inflict more blows than taking so I was shocked not to see his hand raised by the referee after the fight,” said Khan’s coach Ijaz Farooqui. “He really played well and deserved to win. The refereeing was unfair as they favoured the local boxer.”
With two bronze medals, Pakistan boxers produced the second best performance for the country after the wrestling contingent that won two gold medals and a silver in New Delhi.
Their defeat takes Pakistan’s campaign in New Delhi towards its final stages with just the hockey team left to play its fifth-position playoff match today apart from the Paralympics events that are part of the Games.
PBF to reward boxers
The Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) has decided to give a cash reward to Waseem and Haroon for their medal-winning performances.
“The boxers created history by winning two medals at the Games and we’ll definitely announce a cash reward for them soon,” said PBF President Doda Khan Bhutto told The Express Tribune.
“We’re very happy with their performance and expect a better show from them in the Asian Games,” he said before announcing the boxers would be sent to UK for training after Asian Games.
‘Flag-spat affected lifters’ performance’
As Pakistan weightlifters failed to earn a single medal, coach Rashid Mehmood blamed the flag-bearing saga for his squad’s failure. Pakistan grabbed a gold and a silver four years ago in Melbourne but finished outside the top-five in all the six categories this year.
“The incident affected the morale of our weightlifters because of which they failed to give a medal-winning performance,” said Mehmood.
Following the incident, the weightlifters threatened to pull out of the event before Pakistan Olympic Association intervened. Shujauddin Malik, the weightlifter in the middle of the controversy was later disqualified from his event after injuring himself.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 12th, 2010.
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