PBF plans to send five boxers to Asian Olympic qualifiers


KARACHI: Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) plans to field minimum five leading boxers in the Asian Olympic qualifying round which will be held in Wuhan, China, from February 3-14.“We are thinking about fielding minimum five boxers in the continental qualifiers in China,” PBF secretary Col Nasir Tung told ‘The News’ on Thursday.Besides the continental qualifiers, national pugilists will also have to feature in the world qualifying round whose schedule is not yet confirmed.Pakistan last featured in boxing at the 2004 Athens Olympics. Since then, national pugilists have been struggling to return to the Olympic fold.However, following Pakistan’s pathetic display in the recently concluded South Asian Games in Nepal, it will be a herculean task for the national fighters to impress in the continental qualifiers. They will need top training on foreign soil ahead of the qualifiers. And Nasir agrees.“Yes, it’s the case,” he said. “Our boxers need top training and we are trying to send them either to Mongolia or some other country,” he added.Syed Mohammad Asif, Gulzaib, Sanaullah, Naqeebullah and Awais Ali Khan are some of the prominent boxers who may be sent to China.The PBF has invited leading 14 boxers to Lahore for a meeting scheduled to be held on Saturday (tomorrow).In the meeting, the PBF will interact with the fighters and will discuss with them their requirements for the qualifiers.“We will discuss with them about their training requirements and their availability. We will also prepare documentation of the boxers during the same meeting so that we could not face any issues in future,” Nasir said.Two boxers each in flyweight, bantamweight, light welterweight, welterweight, middle weight, light heavyweight and heavyweight have been invited to the meeting.As state has not been cooperative in camps, the PBF has opted to sponsor training of the pugilists by itself.“We will back the camp as you know situation is not good. We are going to seek sponsors and hopefully the things will go in right direction,” Nasir said.Since featuring at the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia, Pakistani boxers remained idle for months until they showcased their talent in the South Asian Games in Nepal recently.“These are difficult days but once we get some substantial assistance from any quarter we will be in a good position to work effectively on our boxers,” Nasir said.“Due to lack of money we did not even go to Nepal during SAG as we wanted to send more boxers to give them exposure,” he said.Nasir said that foreign coach could not be hired at this stage as there was not much time left ahead of qualifiers.“It’s not possible at this stage to hire a foreign coach. Our own coaches are also good but we need to send our boxers abroad for training. Unless they get good sparring partners they will not improve,” he concluded.
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