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Anticipation as team for Africa qualifiers to be named

Wednesday March 18 2020
mugande_pix

Welterweight boxer Boniface Mugunde shadow box at National Police Service Mathare Depot Social Hall in Nairobi on January 21, 2020. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |

By AYUMBA AYODI

The final Kenya men’s and women’s boxing teams for the Africa qualifiers in Senegal for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will be named on Friday in Nanyuki.

Head coach Benjamin Musa disclosed this on Monday as the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (Nock) assured the team of maximum support in their final preparation for the Africa qualifiers that will be held from February 20 to 29 in the Senegalese capital Dakar.

Musa will name a final travelling party of eight men and five women from the squad of 18 boxers who are in training in Nanyuki.

Musa indicated that their high altitude training that started over a week ago in Nanyuki involving 18 pugilists had been smooth with no injuries or illness reported.

Musa said the residential training in Nanyuki that is to put the boxers in pre-competition period is hinged on four area -- punching strategies, defence techniques, ring movement and aerobic strength.

“We want the boxers to be effective and do their job with ease with their punches that should come out with speed and power,” said Musa.

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“Defence will be key coupled with the right movement when striking or moving away from the opponent.

Musa explained that aerobics strength is quite essential since an efficient boxers must use the shortest time possible with high intensity in execution.

“I am quite confident that we shall come up with the best squad possible that should do the country proud in Dakar,” said Musa.

He reckoned that Kenya should at least qualify five boxers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Kenya was represented by three boxers boxers at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games; Peter Mungai Warui (light flyweight), Benson Gicharu (Bantamweight) and Rayton Okwiri (welterweight).

Okwiri, who had turned professional, has since made a U-turn, and is seeking to represent the country again, hoping to cash on the gains from the paid ranks.

Others in camp are Team Kenya captain for 2019 Rabat African Games, Nick Okoth (Featherweight), who participated at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Elizabeth Andiego (middleweight), who graced the 2012 London Olympic and Africa Games silver medallist Shaffi Bakari (flyweight).

Nock acting secretary general, Francis Mutuku, who toured the team’s camp in Nanyuki alongside several of his colleagues, lauded Boxing Federation Kenya (BFK) for their contribution towards the success of Kenya at the Olympics.

However, Mutuku, who was accompanied by Treasurer Anthony Kariuki and executive member Shoaib Vayani, challenged the current crop of fighters to emulate the standards of past heroes.

“Boxing has been the number two sport in bringing medals from the Olympics in the past, behind athletics. This time round with the preparations they have undergone, we are confident they can reclaim the past glory,” said Mutuku, who also handed over some training equipment to the boxers.

Mutuku cautioned the boxers from engaging in doping as it could jeopardise their careers.

“We have the talent so we should always strive to fight clean. Doping issues arise mostly due to lack of knowledge and that is why Nock has availed a doctor at the training camp to help in guiding the boxers concerning prohibited substances,” added Mutuku.

BFK President Anthony Jamal Otieno challenged the boxers to repay the good gesture by Nock by earning many qualifications slots to the Tokyo Games.

“Nock has given us support to ensure our boxers go into camp in good time and particularly the residential camp in Nanyuki where there have been no distractions,” said Otieno.

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