French boxer Nordine Oubaali wants gold for his 17 brothers and sisters
Nordine Oubaali was born 13th of 18 brothers and sisters, but he's hoping that does not prove unlucky as the French flyweight aims for Olympic gold
The 25-year-old, who won world bronze at super fly in 2007, edged one round closer to that dream on Monday with a comprehensive 22-9 victory over Afghan opponent Ajmal Faisal.
“I haven’t come here to lose, that is not my mentality. I have come here because I am a winner and because I want gold not just for myself but also for my family who have contributed to my career whenever they could,” he said.
He will next fight third-seeded Raushee Warren, who may be the first American boxer to compete at three Olympics but who has yet to win a fight at the Games.
Oubaali is indebted to his family. “I can say that I am really lucky to belong to a family of 18 brothers and sisters,” he said proudly on his website.
“It is also for them that I have boxed all these years, and I have become their ‘little champion’.”
Oubaali owes a particular debt to two of his older brothers Moussa and Ali. The former started him down the road before his studies meant he handed responsibility of his little brother to Ali.
Ali too was a boxer and Oubaali acknowledges that without him he would not be where he is now.
“Today it is thanks to him that I have the medals that I have won,” he says.
The final pair of fraternal hands that he passed through were those of S’mail before he and younger sister Zahra entered the ranks of the French national set up.
Zahra, though, failed to get the nod for the women's team in London and tried her hand with Morocco, where their parents were born.
Oubaali, who is at his second Games after competing in the super fly division in Beijing, and losing in the last-16 to eventual champion Zou Shiming of China, is not just at the Games for bringing glory to his family. “I want also to win gold for France, to thank them for the welcome embrace they gave my parents all those years ago.”