The National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOC-K) has provided support to the Boxing Federation as the National Boxing Team (Hit Squad) on 31st August 2022 as it prepares to depart for the Africa Championship 2022 which doubles up as a qualifier for 2023 World Championship, in Maputo, Mozambique.
The provisional team of 9 athletes and 2 officials is set to depart on Wednesday 7th September 2022 for the Games which will be held in the city from 7th-19th September 2022.
After a triumphant National Trials held over this past weekend, a total of 29 boxers; 16 male and 13 female were selected and reported to residential camp on Tuesday, 30th August at Mathare depot in readiness for the 20th edition of the Africa Boxing Championship in Maputo, Mozambique.
The trials saw notable names and most of which are fresh from a vain attempt at Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
Defending Africa lightweight champion Nick Okoth, bantam Shaffi Bakari, flyweight David Karanja, feather Samuel Njau, Martin Oduor, light-welter Victor Odhiambo, light-middle Boniface Mogunde, middle Edwin Okongo and light-heavy George Cosby.
Speaking during the sponsorship presentation, NOC-K Secretary General Francis Mutuku who was accompanied by NOC-K Women Representative Paurvi Rawal and Executive Member Paul Otula, spoke on the importance of the backing as a stepping stone to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
“Coming straight from Birmingham Commonwealth Games, in less than a month, and organizing a National Trials is quite an impeccable feat by the federation and we commend it. Our main aim is to ensure we perform even better towards Paris 2024 and in this, supporting all federations during this period.”
“A day ago, the countdown towards the Olympic Games in Paris was marked at two years, meaning we’re a year and some change to the Games and with the political situation in the country, and the Fund currently on hold, we have to come forth and help all affiliate members continue with their activities as Sports never stops.”
Adding to the support the Committee is giving the Boxing family, Light-weight Christine Ongare, who has previously won a bronze medal in the Championship is also in a Paris 2024 Scholarship from the Olympics Solidarity Program to ensure she qualifies and improves on her Tokyo 2020 performance.
Speaking during the cheque handover, Head Coach Benjamin Moses and the Secretary General David Munuhe thanked NOC-K for coming to their rescue and supporting the team.
“Experience is not gained in the gym, but in competition. We have to be the best in Africa before we’re the best in the world, so our eyes are on the prize heading to the Championship. We were stuck, but now a smile on the face only gives more motivation to the boxers.” Head Coach, Benjamin Moses said.
39, Nick Okoth “Commander”, will be looking to defend his title at his third outing of the Africa Championship having won in 2008 and 2017.
“Hearing new boxers in camp get excited to train with me and look up to me is such a great honor. As the captain also, it motivates me. “Said the Olympian.
“Last month, we had tough luck in Birmingham, but that’s just how sports is, so in Maputo, we’re putting our best foot forward and even more motivated having gained experience.”
At the last Africa Championships in 2017 in Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo, Kenya placed eighth with one gold from Okoth and four bronze medals by light-fly Bakari who made his international debut and middleweight John Kyalo.
Light-flyweight Christine Ongare and middle Elizabeth Akinyi both of whom made history as the first Kenyan female boxers to win medals in an international tournament also got bronze.
This is the third federation NOC-K has supported in August, having granted the Kenya Volleyball Federation, support of the National Women’s team in Brazil which is preparing for the 2022 World Championship in Netherlands and Poland and The Netball Women (Divas) got support to the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers, (Africa Cup) in South Africa.