Wednesday saw a rest day at the 2016 AIBA Women’s World Championships, and an opportunity to take in some local culture while taking stock of what has already been an unforgettable week of boxing in Kazakhstan’s wonderful capital city.
The day began with a lunch for AIBA’s President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu and Women’s Commission Chairperson Joyce Bowen, Kazakhstan Boxing Federation Executive Director Bekzhan Bektenov, IOC members Mrs Yumilka Ruiz and Mrs Aicha Garad and the Astana 2016 ambassadors. Olympic gold medallist Nicola Adams and reigning World Champion Marlen Esparza addressed the gathering on behalf of their fellow ambassadors Olympic bronze medalist Adriana Araujo, five-time World Champion MC Mary Kom, Rio 2016 Olympic qualifiers Estelle Moselly, Stanimira Petrova and Khadija Mardi and the R&Js Kheira Sidi Yakoub, Jennifer Huggins and Natalya Tsoy, talking of their pride at being role models for women’s boxing.
“It has been a great honour to be an ambassador for these championships and for women’s boxing. It is all about inspiring the next generation. I’m always encouraging more girls and guys to get involved in boxing and to take up the sport that I love so much,” said Britain’s Olympic champion Adams.
The afternoon saw an entertaining football match between AIBA and the Kazakhstan Boxing Federation in the privileged setting of Astana Arena, home of Kazakhstan Premier League side Astana FC. Watched by President Wu and Bekzhan Bektenov, the game was played in excellent spirit, as reflected by the 2-2 scoreline, and followed by a presentation of trophies and an Astana FC shirt signed by all players for the AIBA President.
In the evening, the local culture continued in grand style at the Astana Opera House, where the President, AIBA officials and delegations from visiting National Federations were treated to an exquisite performance of national and international music.