KARACHI Around 26 countries from Europe, Africa and Asia are participating in the Shaheed Benazir Bhutto international boxing tournament. Out of these 26 countries, as many as 20 have named their boxers while UAE, Thailand and Mongolia have send their written entries while Pakistan immediate neighbours Sri Lanka and India have confirmed their participation. The other countires who are expected to take part and have named teams for the event include Hungary, Iraq, Chinese Taipei, Kenya, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Peoples Republic of China, India, Nepal, Yemen, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Singapore. Poland has also confirmed their entry on telephone. The nine day tournament, dedicated to the name of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, will be held here at Benazir Bhutto KPT gymnasium January 1 to 9. The organiser of the tournament, Pakistan Boxing Federation, took over the possession of the gymnasium located very close to the boxing bowl of Pakistan Lyari after the KPT officially informed the PBF about loaning them the venue. In the past, the gymnasium has successfully served as boxing venue for international events. It was here that one of the boxing qualifying rounds for Beijing and world championships were successfully held. The venue could hold sizable number of fans and have ample room to install TV cameras and other technical equipment. But above all, it is safe venue. The PBF, which has earlier decided to hold the championship at EXPO Centre opposite Hasan Square, had to shift the venue because it would cost the organisers close to Rs five million just to pay the hiring charges of the areas and making temporary seating arrangements. All the sports organisers of the country are hoping if the PBF was able to host the event successfully it would remove the stigma about Pakistan being insecure for sporting events. It all happed early this year when unidentified persons attacked Sri Lankan cricket team on the Liberty round about in Lahore in March during the second Test the visitors were playing. Since then a number of countries have refused to visit Pakistan to play and have requested shifting of the venue from this country. Howeverm, a successful and secure holding of the international boxing tournament would change that perception. As many as 130 boxers and 66 officials from twenty countries have started sending teams by name. Peoples Republic of China, Hungary and Iraq have already sent names of their teams and technical officials. An official of the PBF here on Monday said that UAE, Thailand and Mongolia have also officially conveyed the names of their teams. Thailand is one of the biggest promoter of amateur boxing in Asia. It has named a seven member team that includes two officials for the event. The Thai team is: Anan Pongkhet (51 kg), Itthiphon Phusri (54 kg), Donchai Thathi (57 kg), Phonwirat Patitangkho (60 kg), Oatchariya Haewsuno (64 kg), Channarong Deepan Coach - 1 and pichat sayota coach - 2. Magnolia also named a seven member team: G Dugarkhuu (48 kg), J Otgonbayar(51 kg), B Javkhlan(57 kg), B Tuvshinbat(64 kg), D iderbat (+91 kg), D Batsuren, team coach, T Uitumen, team manager. United Arab Emirate named a much bigger squad for the tournament. It is: Ali Mohammad (51 kg), Hassan Al Kaabi (54 kg), Ahmed Mesmari (57 kg), Ahmed Mehrezy (57 kg), Mohamed Al Shebli (60 kg), Hamad Kayyani (60 kg), Khamis Al Nuaimi (64 kg), Omar Mesmari (69 kg), Taher Husain (75 kg), Qassim Al Barout (81 kg), Abdulla Al Jaberi (91 kg), Abdel Karim Haj Taleb, team manager, Abel Hadi Djellab, team coach - 1, Abdullah Al Senani, team coach - 2, Sultan Al Harami, referee/judge. The PBF official said that all received entries are being sent to the Pakistan Sports Board for further necessary procedure for visa processing. In the meantime, the Asian Boxing Confederation (ASBC) appointed Dr Francis Rajakulendran from Sri Lanka as ITO (Medical Jury) in place of Dr Jerry Yu from Chinese Taipei who due to personal commitment wont be able to come to Karachi before January 3. The ASBC have added the name of Nandigjav Tsevegsuren of Mongolia who will act as neutral referee judge in upcoming mega event.