LAHORE - Pakistan Boxing Federation (PBF) secretary Iqbal Hussain has lamented that lack of funds and interest by concerned quarters to finance the tour deprived national boxing team of featuring in the Asian Boxing Championship to be held in Thailand from August 25.

"Our participation in the event, which is the first qualifying round of the Rio Olympics, is not possible as we are short of funds and Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) has not extended any financial support despite our repeated requests,” Iqbal said.

He said the PBF wrote a number of letters to the PSB for providing financial support for the tour of 12-member boxing party comprising nine boxers and three officials. “So far, we have not received any reply from them,” he added.

"August 15 is the deadline to confirm teams’ participation and its travel plan but we are not sure of our team's participation in the event as we have not received any positive reply from the PSB,” said the PBF secretary. "After Pakistan hockey, boxing is the only hope for participation in the Olympic. If we don't take part in the Asian championship, our hopes are lost for our possible qualification for the second qualifying round for Olympics which is the World Championship to be held in Qatar in October,” Iqbal said.

"Our boxers have the necessary experience and talent to qualify for the Olympics given the fact that they have performed at a higher level in the international events including Asian championships in the past. It will be very unfortunate, if the team does not take part in the Asian competition,” he added.

Iqbal claimed that the PBF did not receive any grant or fund from the PSB during the past two and a half year and it ensured the participation of the team in major international events from its own resources. “We appeal to the PSB to look into this matter on priority basis and provide necessary funds for the participation of the team in the Asian championship. We also hope that the concerned quarters will give due consideration to our request in the larger interest of national sports,” he said.

“If the PSB shoulders the team's trip to Bangkok, they will provide daily allowance to the boxers and meet their other expenses from their own resources. However, buying the air tickets for the team is not possible for us due to shortage of funds,” the PBF secretary concluded.