Ghana Boxing Federation (GBF) President, Gideon Quartey, has welcomed the new International Boxing Association (AIBA) decision to allow professional boxers to compete at the Olympic Games, starting from the Rio Games in August.
He said the decision would create another platform for professional Ghanaian boxers to re-launch themselves on the international stage, having failed to follow the path of the nations past heroes.
Yesterday’s decision was arrived at the AIBA Congress in Switzerland where 84 member federations voted in favour with four in abstention.
There was no vote against the motion that sought to amend Article 13 (J) of AIBA which previously restricted Olympic boxing to only amateurs.
With that cloud of uncertainty cleared, AIBA’s first challenge will be how to manage the number of professional boxers that will storm Venezuela where the qualifier guaranteeing 26 entry places for the Games would be held.
Despite the negative sentiment expressed over the move even before it was passed, Mr. Quartey said it is very good for boxers that have failed to fight at the big stage due to no fault of theirs.
Speaking to the Times Sports from Switzerland, Mr. Quartey, also a delegate, said it is a good opportunity Ghana must take advantage of to up her number of participants at the Games.
Abdul Wahid Omar is currently Ghana’s only hope in boxing at the Games. He was granted a Wild Card by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) which scholarship he has been put on.
Mr. Quartey was of the opinion that the Olympics and other activities under AIBA would keep the boxers very busy and offer different platform for skilled boxers to chase their dreams.
“It is welcome news for all, especially Ghana. We would try and send some few boxers to Venezuela to see whether we can snatch any of the 26 slots allotted for the Games.”
By Andrew Nortey