Qatari boxer books Rio berth
Hakan Erseker, the first Qatari boxer to qualify for the Olympics (Photo: Gulf Times)
Hakan Erseker made history yesterday by becoming the first Qatari boxer to qualify for the Olympics at the AIBA World Olympic qualification event that concluded in Baku, Azerbaijan, yesterday.
The 60kg boxer lost in the quarter-finals to Enrico Lacruz of Netherlands, but qualified because the Netherlands boxer went on to win his bout, beating Anvar Yunusov of Tajikistan in the final yesterday.
According to the rules of the competition, the boxers making the semi-finals of their respective categories qualify for the Olympics automatically.
But if the winner of the quarter-final bout goes on to win the title, then the losing boxer too qualifies, and Erseker was lucky that his quarter-final opponent Lacruz went on to win the 60kg bout.
Erseker will be one of the close to 40 athletes of the Qatari Olympic contingent, which is already the country’s biggest ever. Some of the other names of note in the contingent include Nasser Saleh al-Attiyah, who won the skeet bronze at London 2012, and who will be participating in his sixth consecutive Olympics in Rio.
High jumper Mutaz Barshim, who also won the bronze in London, is another of Qatar’s big hopes in the Brazilian capital.
Making their Olympic debuts in Rio will be the men’s handball team, who won the silver at last year’s World Handball Championships in Doha, and the equestrian team, who qualified when they won the second stage of the FEI Nations Cup in Abu Dhabi last year.
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