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Global Boxers Are Preparing for the Olympics
    2008-08-09 12:21:50     CRIENGLISH.com

One of the cubicles where the athelets are trained [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]

 As the Beijing Olympic Games draw closer, preparations are continuing. Athletes from all over the world are having last minute training sessions, hoping to bring home a medal. Recently, in Beijing's Ditan Gymnasium, you can see some burly men with confidence and determination on their faces. Those are the boxers who will fight in these Olympics.

Walking through Ditan Gymnasium, you can hear the sounds of punching bags being hit by the athletes. Every day, contestants from around the world will come here to train, keeping themselves in good physical condition till the Games begin. Shang Nan, a volunteer working in the gymnasium, tells us how the athletes are trained.

"We have air conditioning, we have the water, and we have a medical service. The athletes can get almost everything here. The first training session starts at half past nine, and the last one goes from eight pm to nine pm every day. I can see the boxers training and sweating hard. It was not easy, you know. Everyone wants to challenge themselves. I think it's tough work."

Aziz Ali is a Kenyan amateur boxer who qualified for the 2008 Olympics in the Light-heavyweight division at the African 2008 Olympic Qualifying Tournament. When asked how he is preparing for the Games, he is quite confident.

"For me, I don't fear any country you know, because I'm training well. I'm good. I'm here to challenge any country. For me I trust me. I trust I'm good. I'm here to challenge any country. That's why I'm here."

In all, Kenya will parade 5 boxing athletes before the Olympics. Aziz tells us that his biggest challenge is from Russia as Russia claimed second place in the Athens Olympics. A Russian boxing team leader says they expect to win at least seven medals in these Olympic Games.

Besides Russia, Cuba, where boxing is said to be a "team sport", has obtained almost 50 percent of its Olympic Games medals through boxing, since boxing has given it 32 of its 66 Olympic medals. It's not an exaggeration to say that Cubans have dominated international boxing. However, with more and more champions fleeing to join foreign-based promoters and none of them returning to defend their titles, audiences wonder whether Cuba will remain its dominance in the boxing ring.

But whatever the result will be, we find that every athlete at the gymnasium is training very hard. Oscar Valdez is a boxer from Mexico.

"Every day we train at different times. Sometimes we train at the Olympic village, sometimes we are trained here. We are trying our best to get an Olympic medal. Right now we are preparing very hard. The Olympic Games are a big thing and I think everybody here is the champion. Everybody is a difficult opponent for me. I hope I'll win."

When asked how he feels about Beijing, he becomes very excited.

"It is really a good city. I like it a lot. There are a lot of friendly people on the streets. I hope to come here again later on after the Olympic Games."

The Beijing Workers' Gymnasium will serve as the venue for the forthcoming boxing matches. The tournament starts on August 9th and lasts till August 24th. Want to know who will win the championship? Stay tuned!

Aziz Ali, a boxer from Kenya, is ready for the Games and shows us his determination.[Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]

Aziz Ali is punching the bag heavily.[Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]

Boxers and coach from Poland: Lukqsz Maszczyk (left, the boxer), Ludwik Buczynski (middle, the coach), Rofol Kqczov (right, the boxer). [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]

Mexican boxing team [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com]



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What do you think will impress foreign visitors the most during the Beijing Olympics?
The friendliness of the Beijing people
The Water Cube and other Olympic venues
The Forbidden City
The Great Wall
Beijing "siheyuan" (Chinese traditional courtyard houses)
Peking Opera
Wangfujing Street
Beijing Roast Duck