Places at Olympics reserved
By Valentin Orlov
Ten Belarusian boxers struggled for Olympic places, while just two succeeded in reaching the semi-finals and finals — which guaranteed licenses. Vazgen Safaryants was a success in the 60kg category, beating all other Belarusians. He was forced to bow out of the finals, on a doctor’s assessment; luckily, the match against Lithuanian Evaldas Petrauskas was a formality, as he had gained his entry to the Olympics in the semi-finals. “Safaryants boxed brilliantly!” concisely asserts the head coach of the national team, Valery Kornilov.
Safaryants’ success was expected, due to his wonderful performance in the World Boxing Series for the second year. Meanwhile, Mikhail Dolgolevets’ ticket was a pleasant surprise — gained ‘under additional results’. He lost his tough semi-final match (81kg category) to Turkish Bahram Muzaffer but justice reigned in the finals, where Muzaffer defeated Azerbaijani Vatan Huseynli. The win brought an Olympic license to Mikhail as a result. “With my coach, I’ve done a good job. Over the past six months, since the World Championship in Baku, I’ve advanced significantly, which cannot but bring results,” emphasises Mikhail.
Athens Olympics prize holder, heavy weight boxer Victor Zuyev, was not so lucky, despite being one of the strongest fighters in the World Boxing Series. He defeated World Champion Roman Kaptonenko of Ukraine in his first match but lost to Russian champion Magomed Omarov the next day (another Olympic contender). Zuyev, like World Championship prize holder Magomed Nurudinov (who was smashed by Turkish Abdulkadir Koroglu) now has no chance of fighting in the Olympics in London.
“All the European teams performed at the Turkish tournament; such boxing giants as Poland and Germany only won a small number of licenses or, even, none at all,” notes Mr. Kornilov. “Meanwhile, Belarus is now ahead of many European states, having three Olympic tickets. I believe we’ve won an optimal number and can now start training for the major competition, which is held every four years.”