The President of the Association of National Olympic Committees (ANOC), Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah, made his way to the Olympic Boxing arena for the first time on Thursday evening to watch the men’s preliminaries and soak up some of the unique atmosphere inside Riocentro Pavilion 6. A long-time fan of boxing, Mr Al-Sabah was delighted with how the competition has been received over the first week of action.
“I’m so happy to be here in Rio to watch the Boxing, it is such a major sport for us and the excitement around it has been great. As an IOC member it is wonderful to see so many NOCs finding success, not just depending on the size of the country. That is what we like to see in sport and it adds great value to the boxing competition.”
Having followed Olympic Boxing for decades, Mr Al-Sabah also expressed his hapiness with the changes that AIBA has implemented under President Ching-Kuo Wu in recent years, including the removal of head protection for the men, and the opening up of the Games for non-AIBA boxers.
“All of these boxers are amazing athletes, and it is good to once again be able to see the women and men boxing side by side, representing their countries. AIBA boxing has undoubtedly become more professional and so it made sense on every level to remove the headguards, for the boxers and for the spectators. But the important thing for the future of the Olympic Boxing competition is that it brings together the best athletes in the world.”
“I’ve been watching the boxing on the television and now in the arena, and I can say that both capture the atmosphere. The Brazilian people are helping to make the Games a success and the excitement is everywhere, but I think that here at the boxing is one of the best from that point of view.”
As for the remainder of the competition, the ANOC President will be hoping to return to catch some more bouts as the tournament enters its second week of action. “I really like the heavyweights so im looking forward to seeing Vassily Levit against Erislandy Savon, its one of those Semi-Finals that could be a final, that is how good they are.”