Sadam Ali, U.S. Muslim Olympic Athlete

Posted on August 23, 2008


Born: September 26, 1988
Brooklyn, NY
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Residence: Colorado Springs, CO
Ht: / Wt: 5’8″ / 132 lbs
Event(s): Boxing – lightweight (60kg/132 lbs)


Olympic berth
Despite winning his second straight national Golden Gloves title in 2007, lightweight Sadam Ali (60kg/132 lbs) didn’t impress many at the U.S. Nationals last year, when he bowed out in his first fight to Jerry Belmontes, who ended up placing second. But Ali took advantage when he faced Belmontes again at the Olympic Trials, taking him down to reach the final, where Ali handled Miguel Gonzalez, 22-10. Winning the Trials assured Ali to be the only American light welterweight allowed to compete in three Olympic qualification tournaments, meaning he still had to earn a spot in Beijing. He missed his first chance to qualify by losing his second fight at the 2007 World Championships, but in his next opportunity he placed runner-up at the 1st AIBA Americas Olympic Qualification Tournament, which earned him a berth in his first Olympics.

Drug lesson
In December 2007, USA Boxing was told that Ali had tested positive for cathine, a drug similar to amphetamines. Within days, Ali took a voluntary suspension. AIBA, boxing’s international governing body, ended up serving him a three-month suspension retroactive to when he first volunteered, meaning Ali was reinstated in time for his second chance at Olympic qualifying. The positive test came when Ali was at a Beijing test event Nov. 17-22, and likely was triggered when a team doctor gave him medicine for bronchitis. “I had gone through too much not to make the Olympics,” Ali told the New York Daily News after earning his Olympic berth. “I know in life you often have to go through some bumps in the road to reach your ultimate goal. I always kept focused and kept training, and I was confident that this moment would happen.”

The first Ali
Born in New York, Ali is Muslim and his parents are from Yemen. The Brooklyn, N.Y., native hopes to become the first Ali on a U.S. Olympic boxing team; Muhammad Ali was still Cassius Clay when he won gold at the 1960 Games. Sadam began boxing when he was 8 years old

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