World amateur boxing comes to Chicago
In an effort to get out in front of the 2016 Olympic venue decision making process Chicago will host the World Amateur Boxing Championships
here between October 23rd and November 3rd at the UIC Pavilion
. It will be the biggest world sporting event to take place in the city since the 1994 world cup when Chicago's Soldier Field was used four times, including the opening game (Germany played in three of those games and Jurgen Klinsmann scored in each of them).
The competition will serve as qualification for the boxing tournament in the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is expected to draw nearly 650 athletes from 114 countries.
It was confirmed last weekend that Jacques Rogge, the influential president of the International Olympic Committee that will decide if Chicago wins the Summer Games, will attend the event, which will give Chicago organisers a shot at impressing the Belgium-born Rogge, who will help narrow the field of seven cities vying for the Games next June. The current seven are Chicago
, favourites Rio de Janeiro
, Baku, Doha
, where I will be next week plus Madrid and Prague
In terms of the boxing, since qualification tournaments were introduced as the only route to the Games 11 years ago and despite of our history at the event, only five Britons have made it, including Amir Khan in 2004 and Audley Harrison as long ago as 2000. 11 young English men will make this year's journey and I could have been there to cheer them on as our company are running an organised trip one night next week.
Good luck to the Brits in Chicago.