Boxer Yeleussinov Wins Kazakhstan’s Third Gold at Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO – Captain of the Kazakh national boxing team Daniyar Yeleussinov won a gold medal Aug. 17, the third for the country so far at the Rio Olympic Games.

Photo credit: Daniyar Mailybayev

Photo credit: Daniyar Mailybayev

Before the Games, special hopes were placed on the 25-year-old welterweight. Kazakh boxers have dominated in the category, with victories by Bakhtiyar Artayev in Athens in 2004, Bakhyt Sarsekbayev in Beijing in 2008 and Serik Sapiyev in London in 2012. Therefore, fans expected only victory from Yeleussinov in the final. He managed to meet expectations, defeating Uzbek boxer Shakhram Giyasov by a decisive 3:0.

“As this was the last fight of the tournament, I needed to pull myself together, and given it all, [I think I’ve] done my best. I have done this all my life, that is why I could handle the final fight. We [Kazakh boxers] have a good fight technique and are famous for our boxing school. I think we demonstrated that. I would like to thank all the supporters, everyone who worried about me and didn’t sleep tonight. I thank my family, my mother, sister, brother, nephew. I thank my son and wife! I dedicate my victory to all the people of Kazakhstan; this is our joint victory!” said Yeleussinov after the awarding ceremony.

“Daniyar is the captain and special responsibility was placed on him … Yeleussinov, fighting in the weight category in which Kazakh boxers have won Olympic gold medals several times, proved his superiority. Daniyar demonstrated a great desire to win; great proficiency … There are no easy matches in the Olympics, especially at the final stage. Through his victory, Daniyar proved the high level of the Kazakh boxing school,” said head coach of the Kazakh boxing team Myrzagali Aitzhanov. He also said that support from President of the Boxing Federation of Kazakhstan Timur Kulibayev had helped the team succeed.

Another Kazakh boxer, Vassiliy Levit, сould have won gold in his heavyweight match against his Russian opponent Yevgeniy Tishchenko. The 28-29 result for the Russian caused an uproar when it was announced, with spectators booing the result, and is still a matter of much discussion in the sport press. Numerous international media outlets are saying the Kazakh boxer was clearly dominant and criticize the decision.

On Aug. 18, another Kazakh boxer Adilbek Nyazymbetov won silver in the 81 kg category, losing to a Cuban boxer in the final.

The past week has otherwise been a good one for Kazakhstan in Rio, with Karina Goricheva, Farkhat Kharki and Alexander Zaichikov taking bronze medals in weightlifting. Track and field athlete Olga Rypakova, a gold medalist in the long jump in London, added a bronze to her collection, and  Elmira Syzdykova won a bronze medal in wrestling.

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