Monday, August 28, 2017

Boxing in Palestine 1948 - 1967







Issam Khalidi


  As I mentioned before in previous articles that Arab, Jewish and British boxing in Palestine has made good progress in 1930s and 1940s next to football. [1] After 1948, Palestine’s sports movement center of gravity was transferred from Jaffa – Palestine to Gaza. Many athletes and athletic leaders (with many refugees) were forced to move to Gaza Strip which later became under the Egyptian administration. Their experience played a big role in sports growth which Sector Gaza witnessed later. The Egyptian administration had no intention to obliterate Palestinian identity.  It helped in maintaining Palestinian identity which had positive impacts on sports growth. The sports historian Usama Filfel states that after 1948, a team was formed from boxers who were refugees from Haifa, Jaffa, Luda and Ramla. Among them champions who were trained by the well-known Palestinian boxer Adib Al-Dasoqi. This team was under the supervision and auspices of Gaza Sports Club. Financed by the athletic advocate and activist Zaki Khayyal. This team made a trip to Egypt and won most of the games with the Egyptian boxers. It met with the Egyptian military and civil teams such as Railroads and Nadi Mukhtar.[2]
   Arab Palestine Amateur Boxing Federation APABF was established in 1962, Zaki Khayyal was its first President. Palestine took part in the first Pan Arab Games in Alexandria in 1953, it won the second place in boxing and weightlifting. At the third Pan Arab Games in Morocco in 1961, Palestine got the third place in boxing and weightlifting.
    In 1962, Palestinian athletes took part in GANEVO (The Games of the New Emerging Forces), they won 12 medals in boxing and weightlifting. At these games, in Cambodia, in 1966 Palestinian boxers won few medals.[3]
    Many Palestinian boxers were members in Gaza SC, among them was Ibrahim Kahil who took part in few tournaments in Gaza sector. He won the gold medal in the third Pan Arab Games in Morocco in 1961. Later he became the main boxing coach at Gaza SC. Gaza SC included also Akram Arafat who won the gold medal in the first Pan Arab Games in Cairo in 1953. He organized a boxing team in Kuwaiti schools. Another boxer Khalil Manna’, practiced boxing in the Olympic Institute in Jaffa before 1948. He became the champion of boxing in Sector Gaza. Ismat al-Halabi was a member of Gaza SC won more than 42 medals. Omar Hammo from Gaza SC won a bronze medal in the first Pan Arab Games in Cairo in 1953, and a bronze in GANEVO, and in Morocco in 1961.
    After 1948, the West Bank was annexed with Jordan. Ebal SC included few boxers such as Abdel Karim Saad who became Jordan’s heavy weight champion, and Kamel Airan -  feather-weight.


  Directly, after its founding APABF applied for the affiliation with International Amateur Boxing Association and was granted a provisional affiliation in May 1963. In A letter from International Amateur Boxing Association to the Palestine Amateur Boxing Association in on April 2nd 1965 explaining its rejection for not granting a permanent seat to APABF:
...... The provisional affiliation was granted to permit their boxers to take part in competitions with boxers of other countries affiliated to A.I.B.A., but not to a seat at our Congress, held every four years, and in view of the somewhat provisional nature of the situation of Gaza strip and the comparatively small number of clubs and boxers belonging to their Federation.


   A letter from Dr. Kaser President of International Football Association to International Amateur Boxing Association on April 6th 1965:
     Thank you for your answer of April 2nd. Concerning the Arab Palestine Amateur Boxing Federation, Gaza, to which you granted provisional affiliation in 1963. We especially note that provisional affiliation was granted to permit their boxers to take part in competitions with boxers of other countries affiliated to A.I.B.A., but not to a seat at your Congress, due to the somewhat provisional nature of the situation of Gaza strip and the comparatively small number of clubs and boxers belonging to their Federation.


   Under the pretext Gaza strip lacked the status of an independent country, and being under the Egyptian administration, many international federations rejected Palestine's application for membership. Without a doubt, the Israeli influence in these international federations and the latter sympathy for Israel  were  a major reason to reject Palestine's application.  


    So far two other federations in Palestine have been accepted in their respective Federations, name  basketball and table tennis.


 
           Endnotes




[1] Issam Khalidi, Boxing in Palestine 1920s – 1948, www.hpalestinesports.net
[3] Usama Filfesl, Zaki Khayyal, A Prominent Simbol of Palestine Sports.                      

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