Battle lines have been drawn as the two warring factions at the Boxing Association of Kenya (BAK) are set to hold separate Kenya Open Championships in Nairobi and Mombasa respectively.
A group led by BAK president John Kameta and recognised by International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) will stage the Kenya Open starting Thursday at Bamburi Public Beach, Mombasa with nine counties taking part.
However, the other one - spearheaded by BAK senior vice president Albert Matito - will hold their championships at Charter Hall, Nairobi starting Wednesday with 16 counties said to be participating.
The Kenya Defence Forces and Kenya Prisons teams head to Mombasa while Kenya Police lead the Charter Hall battle.
BAK secretary general Paul Mung’ori noted that the championships in Mombasa will be used to select two national teams; A and B with the main focus being the Africa Games planed from August 23 to September 3 in Morocco.
He also said that Kenya also hopes to send a team for the Africa Championships where the date and venue are yet to be set.
Mung’ori disclosed that the nine recognised counties will be allowed to take but hastened to state that any additional regions will be allowed only with proof of clearance and registration from the Sports Registrar’s office.
In a rejoinder, Kameta disclosed that the Africa Championships could fall in July just after the Holy month of Ramadhan adding that the continental event won’t be used as a qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
“AIBA have written to us indicating that the continental event won’t be used as selection for Olympics but for ranking ahead of the World Championships. However, there are indications that the African Games might be used as a selection event,” said Kameta.
This is contrary to information offered by Matito that the event in Nairobi will be used as selection for the Africa Championships and World Championships where the two events will be used as 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers.
Matito said they are going by the unified calendar where the venue is in Nairobi for better logistical planning. The weigh-in of boxers will take place at Charter Hall at 8am on Wednesday followed by action starting at 2pm. Action in Mombasa starts on Thursday with the weigh-in set for morning followed by bouts in the afternoon.
Confusion has once again rocked BAK with Kameta’s group disregarding the unified calendar of events that was agreed upon by the warring factions following a meeting at Nairobi Serena in January this year.
Wrangles had brought confusion with the 2018 National League ending in disarray with both factions staging separate competitions.
Athletics Kenya president Jackson Tuwei had to step in to not only broker a truce but also bring together then Cabinet Secretary for Sports Rashid Echesa and Kameta, who were at loggerheads.
The truce saw Echesa form a Boxing Consultative Committee comprising officials from the two warring factions with an aim of laying down modalities for fresh elections. All that now seems to have gone down the drain after Echesa’s ouster and replacement by Ambassador Amina Mohammed.