"For the people who make the world rankings, I may be the last one, but for me, I'm the No. 1," said Algerian super heavyweight boxer Newfel Ouatah at Ditan Stadium on Thursday.
"If I win a gold medal, it won't be a surprise for me or my coach," said he. "I'm not here to be a tourist."
His action proves his determination. As the first boxer to practice at Ditan Stadium, the training center for Olympic boxers, Newfel has come here for four straight days, training at least two hours each day. Some other boxers have never come or just show up for a while once in a few days.
He took it as something normal as he told us that his six fellow boxers are also busy practicing in South Korea, and some teams chose foreign places to concentrate on training before the Games, so he can't afford to go loose.
As a low-ranked boxer, Newfel will face brutal fights from his powerful 91 plus opponents, such as Italian Roberto Cammarelle, champion of the 2007 World Amateur Boxing Championships, silver medalist Ukrainian Vyacheslav Glazkov and bronze medalists Zhang Zhilei of China and Islam Timurziev of Russia. And don't forget the Cuban Robert Alsonso Acea.
But he said he is not afraid. "I've waited this event for seven years. It's the biggest event for boxers that you can't miss."
"Besides, in Olympics, we always have surprises," he added. "The world champion can lose in the first round, the last one is possible to get the gold medal." That's what he is hoping, and has been striving for.
Besides the intense training, Newfel also takes care of his diet. He has been in Beijing for one week, yet he has not tried any Chinese food, except some shrimps, because he needs to keep his normal diet so as not to gain weight, which is vital for boxers.
After the matches, Newfel will have one-week vacation in Beijing, that will be his time to explore the city and taste all kinds of Chinese food. "Hopefully with a medal," said he with smile.
During the talks, the two-meter-tall Algerian guy can't hide his yearn for an Olympic medal. "I tell you, I prefer to win one Olympic medal than three world titles. The Olympic Games are the dream of every boxer," aspired Newfel.
(Xinhua News Agency August 1, 2008)