Mohammed Ali Qamar helped India win it’s first gold medal in boxing at the Manchester Commonwealth Games in 2002. It was far from an easy journey for the talented boxer from Kidderpore in Kolkata. Qamar’s father enrolled him into boxing at a very young age at Kidderpore School of Physical Education. He was trained by Cheena Bhai in his early years.
Qamar started showing signs of improvement at the junior level by winning important matches that would go on to shape his career. His first big win came in 1991 when we was crowned the Inter-district champion in West Bengal. He extended his winning run to the national sub-junior levels as he was undefeated for four straight years 1992-1996. The Indian showed immense resolve before losing to Ron Siler in the quarterfinals of the 1999 World Amateur boxing championships in Houston.
Qamar took on home favorite Darren Langley in the finals in the Light Flyweight category at the Commonwealth Games. Langley was leading for most part of the summit clash, but the Indian did not give up as he outscored his British opponent 10-3 in the latter stages of the match. He also survived a standing count before he outmanoeuvred the Brit 27-25 to clinch the gold.
He lost in the quarterfinals of the 2002 Busan Asian Games.
A career that promised so much was cut short by injuries. Qamar, who shares his name with the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali slipped into oblivion after his historic win in Manchester.
Kidderpore is now the hub of women’s boxing in India. Boxers who train at the place consider Qamar as their inspiration. Indian fans can only hope that these women can go on to win medals for India.