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For Immediate Release
August 17, 2004

Iraqi Boxing Star Close to Fullfilling Olympic Dream
Fact of the Day

Iraqi National Boxing Team member Najah Ali, 24, says he is living a dream. After the fall of Saddam Hussein's regime, Najah Ali has been able to travel the world while using his boxing talents. He and 29 other Iraqi Olympic athletes are participating in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. For the first time, they will not be under pressure to perform as part of the brutally oppressive sporting system formerly led by Saddam's son, Uday Hussein. Najah Ali is trained and coached by Maurice "Termite" Watkins, a former world class boxer from Houston who went to Iraq as a pest exterminator only to become the nation's head boxing coach. Najah Ali's first match is Wednesday.

SOURCE: U.S. Department of State

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