By Sports Reporter
Sheikh Fahad bin Khalid al-Thani, the new Qatar Boxing Federation (QBF) president, yesterday said he is keen to develop the game in Qatar and create a strong bench strength of young pugilists in the coming years.
Sheikh Fahad, Qatar’s only professional boxer before his retirement last year, was elected as the president of QBF in February this year. Since then he has dived into boxing matters as an administrator by conducting an event in Katara in March before guiding young Qatar boxers to compete in events in Kuwait and Egypt.
At a media briefing yesterday, Sheikh Fahad unveiled his plans for the future. “The long-term ambition is to have a boxing league in the future. It is early days. We are not there yet but we want to build a league along with the clubs and the federation and do it on a monthly basis. This will keep the boxers active,” Sheikh Fahad said.
“The more active you are, the better you get as a boxer or as an athlete. Boxing is a high level competition. The ambition of Qatar is to be on the forefront and to achieve podium results in competitions where our boxers take part in. We have to have a strong bench of boxers. The plan is to have a league that runs for a few months. That would give them (the boxers) something to look forward to even when they are not competing at international level,” the QBF president added.
Sheikh Fahad said he has been working closely with his administrative team and the country’s young boxers in the last six months. “As you know, we conducted an event at Katara in March this year. That was the first event after I got elected as the president of the QBF. That event gave me a good opportunity to look at the local boxing scene from a different perspective,” he said.
“As a professional before, I was not really in contact with the boxers. But it was really impressive on the number of club boxers who participated. The level of boxers was good at the junior, senior and elite class. It was really good to see our boxers developing in Qatar during that event.
“After that, our boxers featured in the Elite Men’s Championship held in Kuwait in July. We had Abdullah al-Badr and Abdul Hadi al-Marri representing Qatar. Both did well. Al-Badr won a bronze medal at the Arab Youth Boxing Championship in Cairo recently. He is just 17. He is still very young and he holds a lot of promise.”
“We are keeping a keen eye on these boxers because this is the generation that will be competing at the 2030 Asian Games in Doha. From our perspective, it (the Katara event) was key to have a starting point towards that goal of the Asian Games in 2030. During the past few weeks, we were busy with a local coaching course so that there is development on that front too. We want to help our coaches improve their game as well,” the QBF president said.
“In the future, we look forward to carrying on building our boxing to exciting levels. We want to keep doing this as we move forward. I also want to say thank you to my team. They have been guiding me as I carry myself as a young president.”
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