‘Hit Squad’ coach Musa confident NOCK support will aid team preps
Mkalla MwambodzeChief writer, boxing
The national boxing team coach Musa Benjamin has hailed the National Olympic Committee of Kenya for their support to the team as they intensify their training ahead of the Olympic qualifiers.
“NOCK has walked with us all through. They gave us the Strength and Conditioning coach that is in camp for now, the nutritionist was also availed by them together with a psychologist. They gave us ring boots and other practicing materials which will help us a lot. The players are very happy because these materials are not cheap. We thank NOCK so much for boosting our efforts in trying to send more boxers to the Olympics in Tokyo,” Said musa.
The boxing federation is aiming to send more boxers to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics Games.
In Rio 2016, welterweight boxer Rayton Okwiri, flyweight pugilist Peter Mungai Warui, and bantamweight boxer Benson Gicharu were Kenya’s representatives but were all eliminated in the qualification rounds.
“Hit Squad” are currently undergoing training in Nairobi with an aim of getting more slots compared to the three the country secured in the 2016 Rio Games. So far only two boxers, Nick Okoth, 37, the 2015 African Boxing Championships gold medallist and Commonwealth Games flyweight bronze medallist Christine Ongare , 26, are the only pugilists to have earned tickets to Tokyo after emerging victorious at the continental qualifications held in Dakar, Senegal last year.
Kenya had sent a team of 13 boxers – eight male and five female.
Algeria finished top after seven of their boxers got the Olympics tickets while Morocco bagged six as Cameroon and Zambia tied in third with three each.
Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Mauritius, Namibia and Uganda all nailed a slot .
Out of the 38 countries that featured in the 10-day tournament, 24 countries failed in their attempt to send any boxer to the Tokyo games.
Kenya however hopes to secure more slots through an alternative qualification route, in Paris, where 35 spots will be up for grabs with the global qualifiers being held only for boxers who participated in their continental qualifiers but failed to make it to the Olympics.
The team is currently in training in Nairobi.