NAIROBI, Kenya, April 19- National under-17 boxing coach Benjamin Musa believes that his charges will mount a potent challenge at the International Boxing Association (AIBA) Youth World Championships in Azerbaijan.Musa told Capital Sport that he settled on seven boxers as opposed to the maximum number of 11 to boost their chances of qualification for the inaugural Summer Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.
“I am taking seven who I think are ready to go and are in top form. They don’t have experience bit I don’t think that will be a problem,” said Musa.
A record 555 boxers from 110 nations will be taking part in the championships for boxers born between 1992 and 1993.
Musa foresees the challenge coming from Eastern Europe and Asia.
“The biggest threat will come from Russia and even India surprisingly, Mongolia and Puerto Rico,” said Musa after the team’s send off ceremony on Monday
“Cuba are not as tough as they used to be but they are still a team to reckon with as well as the United States and Britain,” he added.
The team has been in camp since December last year followed up by a three week training stint at St. Theresa’s.
“Technically and tactically they are prepared as well as physically and mentally. I’m hoping to get some medals,” said Musa.
Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) chairman Samson Muchaga promised that his organization will invest heavily in the development of the sport especially women’s boxing .
“Women’s boxing is now recognized by the IOC (International Olympic Committee) and we’re glad to say that we have now included that in our calendar,” said Muchaga.
“Boxing is increasing in popularity amongst the youth and we want to capitalize on that,” he added.
The team is scheduled to depart early Tuesday morning after confirming that their flight path does pass through part of the European airspace currently being affected by the volcano eruption in Iceland.
The natural phenomenon that has wreaked havoc on the aviation industry and European sports fixtures has forced the organizers to postpone the start of the event to April 25.
Other countries that are taking part include Kazakhstan, Turkey, Ukraine, Belarus, Hungary and Moldova.
Maurice Ochieng (light flyweight), Isaac Mwangi (flyweight), Isaac Major (bantamweight), Nicholas Karanja (featherweight), Hillary Ambei (lightweight), Ali Ahmed (light welter), Hezron Sabat (light heavy)