(ATR) The world pandemic is not stopping boxers from Kazakhstan from preparing for the Olympic tournament in Tokyo.
Kazakh team in Havana. (JIT-CUBADEPORTES)
A total of 16 fighters from that Asian country placed in the vanguard squad of Olympic boxing along with Uzbekistan, Cuba and Russia, are in Havana awaiting the results of COVID-19 tests to start joint training with the preselection Cuban team.
The Kazakhs already have their eight men with the Olympic classification (to which is added a woman in the 75 kg) while the Cubans are waiting for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament of the Americas that will be in May, still without a venue or exact date.
While the fighters were travelling from Kazakhstan to the Caribbean island, the Cuban Institute of Sports (INDER) announced the suspension of all sports activities until March due to the severe outbreak of the coronavirus throughout the country .
The announcement surprised the Kazakhs upon their arrival. The sports authorities chose not to interrupt this preparation but, as expected, the new arrivals had to undergo the rigorous sanitary protocols from their arrival at the air terminal.
At this time, the Asian delegation hopes to carry out a second PCR test in the hotel where they are staying in forced isolation.
The team is made up of a mix of seasoned and junior boxers. Among the best known are welterweight Ablaikhan Zhussupov, a two-time world bronze medalist in the welterweight division, and Abilkhan Amankul world middleweight runner-up.
Cuban boxer Julio César la Cruz (left) will train with the Kazakhs. (Panam Sports)
Four coaches, a doctor and a physical therapist also made the trip.
At the same time, another part of the Kazakhstan team chose Miami with a view to its Olympic preparation.
"It is possible that they cross gloves in Miami with professional Cuban boxers," a source close to the organization of these training bases tells Around the Rings.
Several Cuban boxers with Olympic and world medals have defected to the south Florida city.. Several of them continue to prepare under the guidance of former coaches of the Cuban Olympic team in their new home.
Cuban boxing barely had international contact last year. Coincidentally, the last contact outside Cuba was a joint training session in Almaty with the host country, Kazakhstan, and the national teams of Japan and Hungary.
The men's Olympic tournament in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 was won by Uzbekistan with three gold, two silver and two bronze, followed by Cuba 3-0-3, France 2-2-2 and Kazakhstan 1-2-1.
At the AIBA World Championships in Yekaterinburg, Russia, in October 2019, Uzbekistan maintained dominance in the medal table with three gold, one silver and one bronze ahead of Russia 3-0-1, Kazakhstan 1-1-4 and Cuba 1-1-1.
Cuba reported 330 new cases of Covid-19 this Tuesday. Guantanamo is the current epicenter of the pandemic on the island, followed by Havana. Since the beginning of the disease, Cuba has registered close to 19,000 cases and 175 deaths.
Written and reported by Miguel Hernandez
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