Hit squad steps up preps ahead of Olympics

Kenyan boxers are stepping up their preparations as they seek to seal tickets to the Olympics Games set for Tokyo, Japan in the summer.

With skipper Nick Okoth and Christine Ongare having already sealed their slots at the Games, Boniface Mogunde and Elizabeth Akinyi are hoping to join the duo in the Kenyan team through the final qualifiers scheduled for June in France.

“We are very ready even if the championship were to be held tomorrow. I draw my confidence from the training we have had with our coaches who I really appreciate the work they are doing to help us,” said Mogunde, a bronze medallist at the 2019 African Games.

On her part, nothing can come between Akinyi and the coveted ticket to the Summer Games.

“For me the only thing I know is that I am going for the Olympics ticket and nothing else,” said a confident Akinyi.

National Boxing team (Hit Squad) head coach Benjamin Musa is optimistic the prolonged period caused by the coronavirus pandemic will hand the boxers adequate preparations ahead of the qualifiers.

“I can say the pandemic has been a blessing in disguise for us since we have had adequate training unlike in normal times when we usually train for two or three weeks prior to the competition,” said Musa.

While the team has benefited immensely from the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) Strength and Conditioning coach Geoffrey Kimani, the pugilists also undergo psychological sessions to prepare them mentally for the upcoming make or break it competitions.

“We have psychologists to prepare our boxers mentally since a lot is at stake in the upcoming competitions. As much as we badly need the tickets or medals at the Olympics, we don’t want them (boxers) to be under any pressure whatsoever,” said Musa.

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