The International Boxing Federation (AIBA) has committed a $600,000 prize fund for medal winners at the ASBC Asian Junior and Youth Championships in Dubai.
The championships at Le Meridien from August 20-30 have drawn 290 fighters from 17 countries, and will stage 13 weight divisions for males and females aged 15-16 for juniors and 17-18 for youths.
Asian and UAE Boxing Federation chief Anas Al Otaiba, speaking at the launch ceremony in Abu Dhabi, believes the cash prizes are an incentive for hard work.
And after the Asian Boxing Championship were moved in May from New Delhi to Dubai because of the spike in Coronavirus cases, he is confident everything is in place for a successful event.
“We staged a successful Asian Championship and many of those who participated went on to represent their countries at the Tokyo Games,” he said.
“We are here again to host the Asian juniors and youth championships in these testing times.”
The host nation, for the first time in the history of the continental championships, have assembled their biggest participation of 19 entries in the event.
“We certainly are encouraged as the host nation by the increase in the numbers,” Al Otaiba added.
“The sport has picked up in recent times and hopefully we can continue this trend with the country’s youth. Some good performance from our boys at this championship would really be encouraging for us.”
Hanan Ibrahim Al Zyodi created a piece of history when she became the first Emirati female to win an international medal in boxing when she took bronze at the Asian Championships.
The UAE will not have any female boxers at the junior and youth championships but their Uzbek coach Khasan Mukhamedov is confident a few of the nation’s youths can reach the medal rounds.
“They don’t have the experience at this level but some of them have the potential to reach the medal rounds,” he said.
“We have a good programme in place and boxing is picking up pretty fast among the youth in the country.
“It’s an Olympic sport and to have a few of them at the world sporting spectacle is our objective. The Asian junior and youths is a great platform for them to start with.”
Eissa Mohammed Al Kurdi, the captain of the UAE contingent, believes the championships will be a strong test for many of the Emirati youth boxers.
“We have prepared well and now to see where we stand at the continental level,” he said.
“We want to put up a good show and of course we will go all out to try and win a few medals in front of our home fans.”