NAIROBI, Kenya, July 25- Kenya will have to wait longer for their first medal of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games (CWG) after defending men 50m butterfly champion, Jason Dunford, surrendered his title in the semi finals as boxers made a strong start to their quest for honours on Friday.
Flyweight silver medallist, Benson Gicharu and Sri Lanka King Lion International Boxing welterweight champion Rayton Okwiri progressed to round of 16 in their preliminary bouts.
Gicharu, the Kenya Police boxer, out-boxed Guyana’s Imran Khan in the Bantam 56kg category to collect 89 points after dominating all rounds.
Okwiri, the Kenya Prisons pugilist, who was competing in the welterweight category, also earned a unanimous victory from the three judges against Merven Clair from Mauritius.
The disappointment of the day for Kenya was Dunford’s meek surrender of his crown as he swum 24.03 to finish fifth and although he was ranked the tenth fastest of the round, he could not nail one of the eight slots for the final.
He went faster in Thursday’s heats where he clocked 23.76 to qualify for the semis after finishing second in his race.
The US based swimmer still has the 100m freestyle and 100m butterfly events to contest Saturday but speaking to local website, Sports News Arena, the man who made history at the Delhi Games when he became the first non athlete and boxer to be crowned CWG champion hinted at retirement after the Glasgow showpiece.
According to the website, Dunford, 27, cited age as a factor that could see him follow in the footsteps of his younger sibling, David, who hang his swimming cap after an unconvincing London 2012 Olympics outing.
Elsewhere, Kenya’s dream of winning a medal in men’s Judo dissipated after James Mashombo was eliminated in the quarters.
Mashombo beat Papua New Guinea’s Nelson Ashaan in the 73kg category round of 16 to raise hopes but in the subsequent bout he convincingly lost to Australia’s Jake Bensted.
The tale of woe continued in the 81kg division with Joshua Omondi and John Muthee both bundled out in the preliminary round.
In Badminton, Kenya failed to go past the Group stage after losing all their Group B matches, going down 2-3 to Uganda in their opener before a 3-1 defeat to Ghana and 5-0 to India in the mixed event.
There was no luck either in shooting as Guy Douglas could not make the cut; finishing 17th on 57 points in skeet same as Linet Awour also crashed out in the women’s air pistol event.
Anita Zahra swam 1:11.08 to qualify to the women’s 100m backstroke after touching the wall second although she missed out in the 50m freestyle earlier on.
Tory Michael was the only male to sail through in the 100m breastroke semis after posting a time of 1:0926 for third.
Saturday will see the national 7s team begin their quest to become the first team sport to win a medal, when they take on Cook Island, South Africa as well as Trinidad and Tobago in Group B.
If they progress from the Pool, they will play either four-time champion New Zealand, hosts Scotland, Canada or Barbados in the Main Cup on Sunday.
Boxers Nicholas Okong’o and Nickson Otieno will be looking to emulate their team-mates when they step in the ring, with Okong’o taking on John Colin from Mauritius in lightweight round 32.
Otieno will be up against Samoa’s Petelo Matangi in middleweight.
Dunford will be looking to redeem himself in 100m freestyle alongside Steven Kimani while Sylvia Tanya, Zahra and Jamie Ogot will compete in the women’s 50m butterfly.