Ghanaian boxers will have a greater chance of qualifying for the Rio 2016 Olympics if they join the AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) and World Series of Boxing (WSB) competitions.Ghana was represented by four boxers at the London Olympic Games in 2012 but the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has revealed a ‘controversial’ qualification system for Rio, which has already been approved by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).According to a reports just 23 of the 250 men’s spots at the Games will be available at the 2015 World Championships in the Qatari capital of Doha by comparison with 70 at the 2011 edition in Baku, Azerbaijan for London 2012.The top three athletes from five weight categories 56 kilogramme, 60kg, 64kg, 69kg and 75kg, the gold and silver medalists from three divisions – 46-49kg, 52kg and 81kg – and the champions in the two heaviest classes – 91kg and over 91kg – will qualify for Rio 2016.Replacing much of the spots will be athletes competing in the AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) and World Series of Boxing (WSB) competitions, which AIBA executive director Ho Kim said “a significant step forward to realizing the mission set in 2007 which was for AIBA to govern the sport of boxing in all its forms”.The AIBA Pro AIBA Pro Boxing (APB) and World Series of Boxing (WSB) competitions have already received opposition from some of the major professional boxing governing bodies, notably the World Boxing Council. Twenty places will go to the champion and challenger in each weight category of the APB world ranking, while 17 places are up for grabs in the WSB ranking with the top boxer in each class going to Rio 2016.A further 26 places will be available at an APB/WSB Olympic qualifying event being held in May 2016.Many Rio 2016 Olympic berths will be available to athletes competing in the AIBA Pro Boxing and World Series of Boxing competitions ©Getty ImagesFour continental Olympic qualifying events, taking place between February and April 2016, will also offer up 115 places for the Rio Games, with the top three boxers in each weight category securing a berth.The final 39 Rio spots will be allocated at an AIBA Open Boxing (AOB) World Olympic Qualifying event in June 2016.For women there will be the same three weight categories – flyweight, lightweight and middleweight – as at London 2012, with the top four ranked boxers in each weight class of the 2016 Women’s World Boxing Championships qualifying for Rio 2016. The remaining 20 spots will be allocated at four women’s continental Olympic qualification events taking place between February and April 2016.Meanwhile, a maximum of six quota places – five men and one woman – across all weight categories, except in men’s heavy and super heavyweight, will be reserved for the host country, Brazil.Five men’s and three women’s Tripartite Commission invitation places are also available to eligible National Olympic Committees for Rio 2016.
“People love him because he has proved that it is possible to succeed even from this country as it is,” his friend Jasmin Ligata, 32, told AFP.“Because he always stayed there with his heart and with his soul.”Dzeko is one of Sarajevo’s ‘war children’.The day after scoring what would prove to be a crucial away goal at Barcelona in the quarter-finals, Dzeko posted on Facebook, not about the match but about the anniversary of the start of the siege of his home town, which began on April 5, 1992, when he had just turned six.The siege lasted almost four years.“In a city where you didn’t know if you were going to see your best friend tomorrow, whether you’d hug your father or your mother again, whether you’d open your eyes or even go out to play with your friends, I spent every one of those 1,425 days under siege,” Dzeko wrote.Bombs rained down, Serbian snipers spared no-one. Of the estimated 11,000 deaths, between 1,500 and 1,600 were children.– ‘I survived’ –“I was lucky and I survived, while many of my peers were wounded or are no longer with us,” he added. “To them in remembrance, I dedicate my goal against Barcelona in the Champions League.”Dzeko’s parents still live in Sarajevo, a city even now dealing with the shadow of the siege.The Sarajevo Memorial for Children Killed during Siege opened in a city park in 2010 carrying the engraved names of victims that relatives come and touch. The War Childhood Museum opened in the town last year.Even amid the violence, the young Dzeko went out to play in their neighbourhood of Otoka.“When he went out to play football,” his mother Belma recalled in 2010, “I was very scared.“I did not forbid him to go out to play, even if it was crazy. He was playing all the time, the war meant nothing to him.”One day, she did say no.“He was crying, it hurt me.” But, she said, “a shell fell exactly where Edin played with other children, there were dead, wounded”.Although he’s gone on to play in some of Europe’s biggest football league’s, Dzeko has never forgotten his humble beginnings.“Edin was often there when we needed him the most,” said Ligata, a Bosnian sports press advisor who ran through a list of the times when Dzeko showed an uncanny ability to make unlikely triumphs possible.There was the 92nd minute equaliser against Queens Park Rangers in 2012 that made possible the 3-2 victory that won Manchester City’s first English title since 1968. There were the 26 goals in 2008/09 that propelled Wolfsburg to their only Bundesliga title.– ‘Great moments’ –Even though Sergio Aguero and Grafite might have caught the eye in those teams, Ligata says Dzeko “is somehow predestined for great moments”.Few moments have been greater than Roma’s quarter-final comeback against Lionel Messi’s Barcelona at the start of April, when the Italians kicked off at the Stadio Olimpico trailing by three goals on aggregate, as they will against Liverpool on Wednesday.Dzeko had given his team hope by scoring an 80th minute away goal at the Camp Nou before fanning the flames of an unlikely comeback with a sixth-minute opener in the second leg.He won a penalty converted by Danielo De Rossi on 58 minutes before Kostas Manolas completed the remarkable turnaround eight minutes from time.Dzeko also started Roma’s fightback from five goals down at Anfield last week with an 81st minute strike.At Zeljeznicar, the Sarajevo club where Dzeko started, his signature is on a wall and his name on a seat plaque, recognitions of donations to the renovation of a stadium which, during the war, was on the front line.His first coach at Zeljeznicar, Jusuf Sehovic, remembers a little boy “interested only in going for goal… who kept calling for the ball” and was driven by “the will to work and the ambition to succeed”.An old friend, Mirza Trbonja, 32, remembers the day in 2005 when he drove Dzeko to the airport to leave for Czech club Teplice.“He was the same man then that he is today,” said Trbonja.These days, though, when Dzeko flies back to his home town, he returns as a star.Edin Dzeko scored twice and won a crucial penalty in the Champions League against Barcelona © AFP/File / Isabella BONOTTO“When he comes, you need a lasoo to catch 10 minutes with him,” added Trbonja. “When someone asks him for a photo or autograph, he never refuses.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Edin Dzeko gave Roma some hope when he scored at Anfield © AFP/File / Oli SCARFFSARAJEVO, Bosnia and Herzegovina, May 1 – Roma supporters may harbour only slim hopes their team can once again overturn a three-goal Champions League deficit, but Bosnian fans of Edin Dzeko are convinced their hero will once again rise to the challenge.In Bosnia, Roma striker Dzeko is known as the “Dijamant” — diamond.