World heavyweight boxing champions Vladimir Klitschko of Ukraine celebrates with an Ukrainian flag after defeating Australian challenger Alex Leapai during their WBO heavyweight title fight in Oberhausen April 26, 2014. Photo by Kai Pfaffenbach, Reuters.
KIEV - Ukraine's undisputed world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko's hopes of competing in the 2016 Olympics have been dealt a blow after he failed to get permission to take part in his country's qualifying competition.
The executive board of the Ukrainian national boxing federation have never given permission to either Klitschko or his older brother Vitali to take part in qualifying for the Games in Rio de Janeiro, meaning he has missed the deadline, according to the R-Sport news agency.
"The possibility of the participation of the Klitschko brothers in Olympic qualifying as professionals is something that has never been examined," Ukraine's boxing federation press service stated.
That comes as a blow to the 38-year-old, who had earlier been quoted by the Interfax-Ukraine news agency as saying: "I hope that international amateur boxing's ruling body will be kind to me, and that I will have enough health and motivation to perform at the Olympics in two years time."
The 38-year-old, who won gold at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, said he spoke to his former coach, Emanuel Steward, during the 2012 London Olympic Games and that he had encouraged him to box again in Rio.
Steward subsequently died in October of 2012.
"It was our joint dream with Emanuel (Steward) and I hope I will be able to fulfil it," Klitschko said.
"I already have an Olympic title and it would be terrific to repeat this experience 20 years later."
Klichko, who has lived in Germany since the 1990's, had the chance to take German citizenship and represent the country at the Olympics but he also failed to inform Germany's boxing association about his intentions in time.
"Unfortunately Klitschko has failed to meet the demands of the AIBA as he missed the opportunity to inform Germany's boxing association about his intention to represent our country at the Games in time," Germany's amateur boxing chief Jurgen Kyas said.
"His participation in the Games could be very useful for all of amateur boxing but we should observe the rules," he added.
On Sunday Klitschko defended his WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO belts in Oberhausen, Germany, in his 25th world title fight, knocking out Australian challenger Alex Leapai after two minutes, five seconds of the fifth round.
© 1994-2014 Agence France-Presse