Pak boxers to leave for Italy on 29th

Alam Zeb Safi
Monday, Feb 26, 2024

LAHORE: Pakistan boxing squad will leave for Italy from Karachi on February 29 to feature in the World Qualifying round for 2024 Paris Olympics which will begin from March 3. A senior official of Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) Nasir Tung told The News that they have been told that their visas will be issued on February 28.

“Yes schengen visas have been confirmed and we will get them on February 28 and for February 29 we have reserved seats for Italy. The team will go to Milan via Abu Dhabi,” Nasir said.

Nasir said that five boxers will be representing Pakistan in the qualifying round, adding that London-based Laura will join the squad in Italy. “Yes, she is also coming,” Nasir said. “Besides Laura, who will be making her Pakistan debut, the country’s star boxer and Asian bronze medallist Zohaib Rasheed, heavyweight boxer Azhar, Ibrahim and Fatima Zehra will be making their efforts to press for the Olympics seats,” Nasir said. He said that former Olympian Arshad Hussain will be accompanying the squad as coach.

Nasir is also scheduled to join the squad in Italy as he plans to fly within three to four days of the departure of the squad. He said that the draws will be held on March 2 and the event will begin on the following day. He hoped that Zohaib Rasheed will be making fine effort.

“We have done what we could do by holding a camp in Lahore. You know a foreign tour was necessary but due to financial issues it could not be made possible. But I still hope that Zohaib will do his best. He is in fine shape and will deliver inshaAllah,” Nasir said.

He revealed that it would be a costly tour. “Look, Rs467,000 is only a ticket per person and 1660 Euros is the accommodation cost per person,” Nasir said.

Asked why the other experienced coach Tariq Siddiqui was not given a chance to accompany the squad, Nasir said: “We wanted to send him but we were told by the embassy that four boxers and one official Arshad should come and get their visas,” Nasir said. Nasir said that Tariq would be sent with the team to Bangkok which will host the second World Qualifying round in May.

“Definitely we will use him in the next event,” Tariq said. National boxers underwent training here at the Railways Sports Complex for over two months.

Last year’s Hangzhou Asian Games were also the Qualifiers for the Paris Olympics but national fighters failed to advance beyond the quarter-finals stage. Zohaib fell in the quarters while the others failed to impress.

Pakistan coach Arshad Hussain on Saturday told The News that the boxers left a few hours ago for Karachi where they will train at Pakistan Navy Training Centre at Karsaz. “Yes they left today for Karachi and I will join them on February 29 as I will be leaving from Islamabad for Karachi on February 28 after collecting all the passports from the Italy embassy,” he said.