The Kenyan boxing team “Hit Squad” hopes to have better prospects at the African Olympics qualifiers set for Dakar, Senegal from Feb. 20-29.
The team of 14 men boxers and five women, which has moved its training camp to Nanyuki is making its final preparations before heading to Dakar where over 40 countries are expected to parade their best talent.
BFK president Anthony Ombok believes Kenya has good talent to improve on its three boxers in the Rio Games where nobody went past the quarterfinal stage. Ombok said it was attainable for Kenya to enter over 10 boxers in the Tokyo Olympic Games.
“It is our mandate to select a strong team to represent Kenya in Senegal. Africa have best chances making the Olympic team in Dakar and we want Kenyans to rule the roost there and have over 10 boxers securing their tickets to Tokyo,” Ombok said on Wednesday in Nairobi.
Head coach Benjamin Musa says six more boxers will be axed to remain with eight men and five women for the trip to Senegal, hoping to get the best out of his boxers through training at high altitude in Nanyuki.
In Nanyuki we focus on techniques to help boxers punch harder, faster and with precision. They need to learn to use their footwork to glide in the ring. We will get to Dakar in the best form,” said Musa.
International Olympic Committee (IOC) has set out four continental events and a final world qualification event from February to May 2020 for the boxers to seal their places at the Tokyo 2020 Games, with the world event only open to those who failed to secure a ticket.
“The qualification events represent a fair and transparent pathway to the Olympic Games with equal opportunities for all National Olympic Committees,” said IOC member Morinari Watanabe.
While the total number of athletes (286) has been maintained from Rio 2016, the number of female boxers has been tripled for Tokyo 2020 in a major boost toward gender equality and in keeping with the enhanced quality and popularity of female boxing.
The Tokyo tournament will feature 186 men and 100 women (compared to 250 men and 36 women in Rio). Enditem