GABA praise boxers despite ouster of Olympic hopefuls, wild card maybe in the offing
Following failed attempts by several Guyanese boxers to qualify at the imminent London Olympics
later this year, officials of the Guyana Amateur Boxing Association (GABA) have indicated that there still is a minimal chance of fielding at least one boxer based on a wild card option. However, the chances are very slim, confirmation would only come after President of the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA), Mr. Juman Yassin examines the prospects.
This much was relayed to the media when GABA convened a press conference at the Main Street office of its President, Steve Ninvalle, shortly after the boxers returned home, yesterday afternoon. They came in for praise for their efforts despite losing out on qualification at this stage.
It was revealed that bantamweight boxer, Imran ‘Magic’ Khan, touted as Guyana’s main hope to procure an Olympic Gold medal at the imminent tournament scheduled for the United Kingdom later this year, was defeated at the Olympics Box Off tournament in Brazil.
Coach of the local team, Terrence Poole, blamed Khan’s misfortune on a virus contracted shortly after arriving in Brazil. Mr. Poole further informed that the other two pugilists on tour, lightweight, Stephan Gouveia and jnr/welterweight, Bert Braithwaite, also failed to make the grade after surrendering their respective bouts. Gouveia won his inaugural bout against a boxer out of Honduras but lost his succeeding encounter to a Colombian, while Braithwaite was ejected from the tournament after the referee stopped his contest against a St Lucian.
Mr. Poole said that shortly after arriving in Brazil Khan complained of feeling unwell and started to vomit. He was taken to a doctor where he was diagnosed with a virus but was still inclined to fight. The coach said that he solicited professional medical opinion and was told that the risks to his fighter’s health were minimal and after listening to his charge’s plea, decided to go ahead with the bout. The decision eventually backfired as his Khan was unable to perform his ‘magic’ and drum up sufficient energy for competitive combat.
Mr. Poole was also unhappy with the referee’s decision to halt Braithwaite’s bout. He said that the first count occurred after a clash of heads and upon resumption, both men attacked resulting in another clash of heads following which, the third man inexplicably disqualified his charge. Otherwise, he felt that Gouveia was truly outclassed by a Colombian that went on to win the silver medal. Gouveia had earlier registered a win in his first bout.
Meanwhile, the GABA President downplayed accusations of impartiality pertaining to the omission from the squad, at the last minute, Berbician, Richard Williamson. Mr. Ninvalle cited the availability of sufficient funds and explained that Williamson’s omission occurred after intense examination and an eventual vote by a 4 man committee. He admitted that such an eventuality could have a negative impact on the young man’s psyche but said that his executive have gone the extra mile to assuage the situation even explaining the circumstances in detail to the affected boxer.
He said that many lessons could be drawn from the just concluded tournament and he intends to use those lessons towards the advancement of the sport. Among such ploys is a heavier concentration on the nursery even as he strengthens the senior boxers. Amidst it all, Mr. Ninvalle is adamant that those boxers that failed in the Brazil tournament could still go on to procure major accolades in future tournaments provided that they remain resolute and committed. (Michael Benjamin)