Vijender could bring an Olympic medal after AIBA allows pros fight at Rio

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Vijender could bring an Olympic medal after AIBA allows pros fight at Rio

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Arun S Kaimal

06/01/2016

In a long-awaited move, the AIBA has overwhelmingly voted to let top professional boxers compete at the Rio Olympics this August. Boxer Vijender Singh, who had already expressed interest in representing the nation if the AIBA allowed the move, could very well compete if he qualifies for the event.

Professional boxers have always been excluded from the Olympics, even though some sports including basketball had opened the gates for the pros quite a few years back. The move, which has been mooted for some time, to allow professionals to compete alongside amateurs had found widespread support among boxers as well enthusiasts.

A special meeting of the 88 member nations held at Lausanne voted 84 in favor for the rule change while 4 abstained from the vote.

"At the moment it is difficult to anticipate (how many), but there will be some who want to get qualification," AIBA President CK Wu said after the vote, reported AP.

Olympian Vijender Singh, who has been making waves in the professional circuit over the last year, had expressed interest in representing India if this move comes through.

"If the decision is made official soon, I am definitely going to give my all for the Rio Games. I will go through the process of qualification as being in the Olympic Games is a huge thing," the boxer had said back in April.

He would have a chance to make that happen if he qualifies at the Olympic qualifying tournament in Venezuela next month. AIBA has announced that 26 spots would be up for grabs at the event.

It is, however, unclear as to exactly how many professional boxers can qualify given the WADA doping rules that require the boxers to already have been under a testing regime in the run-up to the Rio Olympics.

"We know some of them have been but we can't tell exactly how many," said Wu, ruling out awarding wild-card entries to high-profile names.

However, Vijender was unclear about his participation in the quadriennial event with India currently not having a boxing federation. 

"I welcome AIBA's decision of allowing professional boxers to compete in the Rio Olympics. I am yet to receive the formalities for this entire process. Since there is no federation in the country, I don't know who will guide me for this entire thing. Right now I am concentrating on my 16 July title fight to be held in New Delhi," Vijender told PTI when asked whether he would give Olympic qualification a shot

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