NAIROBI August 11 – Kenya’s national featherweight champion Nicholas Okoth lost his first Olympic bout to Mexican Arturo Santos Reyes Monday afternoon at the Beijing games in the 57 kilograms fight.
This is the second loss for Kenya after Aziz Ali’s light heavy weight defeat to turkey’s Muzzafer Bahram on Saturday
The army man, Okoth, had made a promise to redeem the medal prospects for Kenya after the elimination of Ali last weekend.
Okoth was out-pointed 6-2 by Reyes, leaving Kenya with two boxers remaining in the competition – flyweight Bernard Ngumba, who fights Uzbekistan’s Doniyorov Tulashboy on Tuesday and light flyweight Suleiman Bilali will bout with Wilson Montero of the Dominican Republic on Wednesday.
Okoth was more active of the two boxers but his body blows did not count with the Kenyan coaches complaining about what they said was poor scoring by the judges.
The Mexican played a colourless defensive game.
This was the second meeting for the two pugilists. The first contest was at the pre-Olympics tournament in Chinese Taipei earlier this year, during which Okoth lost.
Reyes who featured at the 2005 World Championships has more experience at this stage having made two appearances at the Olympic Games – in Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004.
In swimming, Africa and National champion Jason Dunford is set to feature for Kenya tomorrow as he will line up in the men’s 100m freestyle and breaststroke first rounds.
Meanwhile, Kenya’s medals hunting grounds, Athletics, is eagerly awaited, with six athletes and two officials expected to travel Monday to Beijing as the program begins on Friday with the women’s 10,000m and marathon the following day.
The reserve athletes are Paul Kipsiele Koech (3,000m steeplechase men), Harun Keitany (1,500m men), Rita Sitienei (marathon women) and Leonard Komon (10,000m men).
Kenyan Olympic Games 1,500m medal prospect Viola Kibiwott was the only competing team member to have delayed her departure following the death of her mother. She is now set to travel, on Saturday, with the marathoners.