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Caretaker AIBA chief ‘confident’ about IOC’s verdict

Updated April 13, 2019

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In this Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 file photo, president of the amateur boxing federation Gafur Rakhimov speaks to the media upon becoming the head of AIBA in Moscow, Russia. — AP
In this Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018 file photo, president of the amateur boxing federation Gafur Rakhimov speaks to the media upon becoming the head of AIBA in Moscow, Russia. — AP

LAUSANNE: Caretaker boxing chief Mohamed Moustahsane says he’s confident the troubled AIBA will get the green light to run the sport at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee are due to deliver their verdict on whether to allow amateur boxing’s world body to organise the Olympic competition on May 22.

The IOC has frozen boxing’s preparations for next year’s Games as it seeks proof that the AIBA has cleaned up its act sufficiently after allegations of bout-fixing at the Rio Olympics in 2016.

The inquiry also covers AIBA governance and its anti-doping programme.

If the AIBA’s Olympic suspension is maintained the IOC has said it will step in to ensure the sport appears in Tokyo.

But Moustahsane is optimistic the IOC’s inquiry will come to a favourable conclusion for the organisation he took temporary command of at the end of last month.

“We answered all their questions, we are confident,” the 40-year-old Moroccan physician who has served as ringside doctor told AFP on Friday. “We remain available to reply to any questions to be sure that there are no suspicions or black marks hanging over our federation.”

A negative ruling on May 22 will deprive the AIBA, which recently admitted to a $16 million (14.2 million euros) debt, of the IOC’s significant financial clout.

“I would not say it would put us in danger,” said Moustahsane. “AIBA is now in good financial health, we’ve made enormous progress.”

Moustahsane was elected interim AIBA boss in place of controversial Uzbek businessman Gafur Rakhimov.

The removal of Rakhimov was deemed by the IOC as an essential first step towards the AIBA’s rehabilitation into a federation the Olympic rulers could do business with.

“We are doing everything to ensure we are there [in Tokyo], and above all to develop our sport,” added Moustahsane, who is also head of the African Boxing Confederation.

Published in Dawn, April 13th, 2019