Rejected Haroon no more to compete for England

Haroon Khan will not follow his WBA world champion brother’s

footsteps and compete for Britain at the Olympics after being

snubbed by England selectors for the Commonwealth Games.

Haroon Khan is representing Pakistan at the Commonwealth Games,

a decision which has the backing of his father Shuja Khan.

England has lost a medal hope, Shuja Khan told The Associated

Press, by not picking his 19-year-old son for the games.

”It’s England loss and certainly Haroon’s gain,” Shuja

said.

Pakistan welcomed Haroon openly, selecting him without delay

after he’d contested the national trials in the southern port city

of Karachi.

Shuja was not sure whether Haroon would definitely target the

2012 London Olympics, because by then he’ll already be 21 and might

have become a professional boxer like his elder brother Amir.

”It’s still a long way, we have not yet made up our minds,”

said Shuja, who flew to the Indian capital to watch his son’s

progress in the 52-kilogram class at the Commonwealth Games. ”Of

course the Olympics is a big event, but if Haroon doesn’t fight a

professional bout by then, he would definitely love to compete for

Pakistan in London.”

He was overjoyed when Haroon recorded an impressive 12-1

third-round stoppage win over Sunday Elias of Tanzania in the

opening round, and was anticipating another successful bout on

Thursday.

”I hope he continues like that and earns medal for Pakistan

where we have strong roots,” he said.

Shuja moved to England 40 years ago and now runs a promotional

company which also looks after his elder son Amir, the WBA light

welterweight world champion.

While Amir won a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, where

he was Britain’s only boxer, Shuja is elated with Haroon’s decision

to don the green Pakistan blazer in international competition.

”I am sure Haroon has a bright future and he will not only do

well here in Commonwealth Games, he will put up a good show in

China,” at the Asian Games (Asian Games).”

Haroon hasn’t had any trouble fitting in with the Pakistan

contingent. He doesn’t speak Pakistan’s national language, Urdu,

but understands it very well. His English accent is in keeping with

where he was born and raised, at Bolton, near Manchester.

Without naming any England boxers, Haroon said he met a number

of them in Games village at New Delhi.

”They all have encouraged me that I took the right decision by

opting to represent Pakistan,” Amir said. ”I am looking forward

to win more international competitions for Pakistan.”