International Olympic Committee members Irena Szewinska from Poland and Pakistan’s Syed Shahid Ali were in the Kazakhstan capital of Astana on Wednesday evening, at a dinner to mark the inauguration of the AIBA 2016 Women’s World Championships. The pair gave a ringing endorsement for the competition and its organisation at the event that also showcased the best of Kazakh culture.

Mr Ali praised the city for what it has achieved in placing itself on the world map in its short lifespan, before wishing all the women boxers well in the pursuit of their goals.

The tournament gets underway on Thursday afternoon with the opening ceremony and two sessions of boxing at the city’s famous Barys Arena.