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    Sri Lanka boxing aiming for a medal at 2024 Olympic

    August 21, 2019

    he Boxing Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) is in the process of aligning boxers, coaches, referees and specially administrators to focus on winning at the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.“This is as per the new strategic initiative of BASL president Dian Gomes,” said BASL vice president Col (retd) Hemantha Weerasinghe .Sri Lanka’s participation at the inaugural ASBC Asian Schoolboys Boxing Championship in Kuwait is the first step in the BASL’s long-term objective of reaping success in the Paris Games.Six Sri Lankan boxers took part in this ASBC Asian Schoolboys Boxing Championships selected from last year’s events and the final national trials. The performance, shown by some of the Sri Lankan boxers, were remarkable in spite of the fact these young talents started their boxing career less than two years ago.

    “Our boxing standard was on par with the others in the competition. Some of the bouts were lost narrowly and could have gone either way. The only difference I felt was they lacked preparation,” said Weerasinghe, an outstanding product of St. Sylvester’s College, Kandy who has won major competitions such as Layton Cup as a schoolboy.“In other countries there are centres where they can train boxing while studying. Even if they change schools there is no problem. In Sri Lanka, parents don’t like to send their children for pool training because their focus is education. We tried our best to provide training in one place but most of them preferred to train individually with their coaches,” said Weerasinghe, a former secretary of the BASL.

    “To change this concept we have to send them abroad for training before a tournament. Then we can prepare them for two or three weeks. That is the best method to improve their standard,” said Weerasinghe, who represented Sri Lanka at the Asian Championships and South Asian Federation Games. One of Sri Lanka’s key boxing officials for the past decade, Weerasinghe wields influence in the ASBC (Asian Boxing Confederation) being secretary of its Referee and Judges Commission for the past four years.

    He lauded the ASBC’s initiative to conduct international boxing tournaments for schoolboys.“It was a great initiative taken by ASBC to start at the schoolboys level in the Asian continent for the very first time. It was completely a surprise for all in the venue to watch these talented young schoolboys. The boxers had great enthusiasm but in the smaller weight classes they showed great technical and tactical skills as well. The heavier boxers’ performance was almost equal to the elite level in terms of strength of the punches,” said Weerasinghe who had the honour of serving as an ITO (International Technical Official) in the first ever ASBC Asian Schoolboys Boxing Championships in Kuwait City.

    “Hosting the ASBC Asian Schoolboys Boxing Championships in Kuwait City was a great decision as the facilities were very conducive. I am sure it was a big challenge for Kuwait Boxing Federation to host a continental event in their capital. It would have been ideal if the schoolgirls also could be taken part in the event but time will come soon. It is highly recommended to promote schoolboys and schoolgirls international boxing tournaments in Asia which would make the ASBC Championship more competitive,” he told the ASBC website.

    “The organization of this ASBC Asian Schoolboys Boxing Championships has kept the benchmark high and it will be a challenge for other countries in the future to increase this standard. The most attractive part of promoting this tournament was from the ASBC Facebook page where the photos were exceptional,” he added.

    “I hope the schoolgirls will be also added to the next edition of this championship as always it is recommended to have both genders together in all levels of Asian boxing. I hope AIBA can also launch the AIBA Schoolgirls and Schoolboys World Boxing Championships in the future,” said Weerasinghe after the successful conclusion of the ASBC Asian Schoolboys Boxing Championships.


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