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S. Korean boxer earns last-minute ticket to Rio

All Headlines 11:01 July 19, 2016

SEOUL, July 19 (Yonhap) -- South Korean boxer Ham Sang-myeong has earned his ticket to the Rio de Janeiro Summer Games despite his elimination at the Olympic qualifiers, the national amateur boxing governing body said Tuesday.

The Boxing Association of Korea (BAK) said it received a document from the International Boxing Association (AIBA), the amateur boxing governing body, early Tuesday morning that says Ham, who fights at bantamweight (under-56kg), can compete at the Rio Games.

Ham, the 2014 Asian Games gold medalist, was eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Olympic qualification tournament in Vargas, Venezuela, earlier this month. The tournament offered Olympic tickets to the top three boxers in every weight category, except heavyweight (under-91kg) and super heavyweight (over-91kg), from which only the winners earned an Olympic spot.

The tournament in Venezuela was only open to boxers from AIBA Pro Boxing (APB), the World Series of Boxing (WSB) and other professional organizations. Ham entered the competition with Shin Jong-hun as the APB boxers. Shin, meanwhile, failed to earn an Olympic ticket after losing the third-place bout in the light flyweight class.

The BAK said one of the 28 bantamweight boxers who qualified for the Rio Games recently told the AIBA that he will not compete at the Olympics, and Ham took his Olympic spot based on the APB rankings. The 20-year-old South Korean is currently ranked No. 3.

"We don't know which boxer gave up his Olympic ticket," a BAK official said. "But to fill his vacancy, the AIBA seems to have given high-ranked Ham a chance."

South Korea was on the verge of not having any boxers at the Olympics for the first time in 68 years. Since the 1948 London Games, South Korea has sent at least two boxers to every Olympics, except the 1980 Moscow Games, where the country joined the United States' boycott following the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

kdon@yna.co.kr
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