Singapore's Olympic hopefuls got off to a great start on their road to Rio, with Hanurdeen Hamid and Leong Jun Hao winning gold and silver respectively at the 2nd Hong Kong City Cup International Boxing Tournament over the weekend.
Hanurdeen, 22, claimed the bantamweight (56kg) title while Leong was runner-up in the light-welterweight category (64kg).
Both will take part in the Olympic Qualification Event for the Asia and Oceania region in March. The event will be held in in Qian'an, China.
Said Hanurdeen, the SEA Games flyweight silver medallist: "This is my first tournament after the SEA Games, so this was just used to get me back on track to gauge where I stand.
"It is a confidence booster for me because to win in my first tournament after six months, it is a great feeling."
SEA Games bronze medallist Leong, 25, agreed with Hanurdeen, saying: "Although I did not win gold, this helps on my road to Rio because by competing I am getting more exposure and experience and it will be a good stepping stone towards the Olympic qualifiers."
However, despite their stellar performances in their first fights back, the boxers are not letting up, with Hanurdeen noting that the Olympic qualifiers will be a "different ball game altogether".
"The qualifiers are going to be much tougher and I need to perform better if I want to qualify," he said. "I still have room for improvement in terms of perfecting my technique and I just need to keep training and keep improving."
Hanurdeen and Leong's haul were part of the seven-strong team's total of two golds, three silvers and two bronzes. The other gold was delivered by Efasha Kamarudin (women's bantamweight, 54kg). Last year, the team bagged one gold, six silvers and four bronzes.
Said Syed Abdul Kadir, president of the Singapore Amateur Boxing Association: "I am happy because coming into this competition I just wanted them to get some exposure because there weren't many competitions after the SEA Games, so win or lose, it didn't matter. But, of course, it is a bonus that they won.
"I am not surprised because everyone wanted to win and it is a great performance put up by our boxers. Everyone remembered their training and did well enough to win a medal."
This article was first published on January 18, 2016.
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