London boxer Gicharu in distress


NAIROBI, Kenya, May 22- Kenya’s lone boxer for the London Olympics, Ben Gicharu, is up in arms claiming his build-up for the Summer Games is yet to receive official support.

Speaking on Tuesday to Capital Sport, Gicharu, the Commonwealth Flyweight silver medallist, charged he is yet to receive assistance from the National Olympics Committee-Kenya (Nock) and Amateur Boxing Association (ABA) since booking his London ticket a fortnight ago.

“I have been training alone since I returned from the qualifiers, although from time to time, my ‘Chafua Chafua’ teammates join me here at our Mathare depot training gym.

“It’s sad that the opponent that defeated me in the finals of is set to fly out to Cuba which will obviously give him an edge ahead of his bouts in London,” added the Kenya Police pugilist who lost to Botswana’s Oteng Oteng in the final of the Africa qualifiers but silver was enough to book him a slot for London.

“So far all I have received are promises of meetings to discuss my fate despite expecting assistance to come sooner.

“I don’t want to sound I’m demanded too much but authorities cannot fail to do their duty and expect I will bring home a medal while I train in poor conditions for an important event like the Olympics,” he lamented.

When contacted, the CEO of the Kenyan team to London 2012, Stephen Arap Soi, distanced Nock from blame saying the ABA was culpable of dragging their feet on the preparation programme for Gicharu.

“First Nock is not a national federation and we do not deal directly with individual athletes. It is up to their federation, in this case, ABA to draw up a programme and bring it to us and we will take it from there.

“Besides, we are yet to receive official communication from the International Association of Amateur Boxers (AIBA) confirming that he has qualified,” Soi expressed.

He added: “The federation has been sleeping on the job and we could make arrangements even to send him overseas like the Botswana boxer but we cannot do that unless they come up with the plans. It is also up to them to provide him training partners.”

Isaac Agode, ABA’s general secretary declined to divulge details saying that they were working with Nock to ensure Gicharu would receive the required support to motivate his medal push in London.

The latest development is yet another pointer to the disarray in the country’s amateur boxing ranks in a sport that took five to the past Olympics in Beijing.

“We ought to take the Games with the gravity they deserve, medals at the Olympics don’t come your way by fluke,” the disappointed fighter stated.

The late Robert Wangila remains the only boxer and competitor outside athletics to win Olympics gold when he knocked out Frenchman Laurent Boudouani in the middleweight final at the 1988 Games in Seoul.