NAIROBI, Kenya, June 21- Having been the lone boxer in Team Kenya for Olympics prior to Wednesday, Commonwealth silver medallist Ben Gicharu is elated female pugilist Elizabeth Adiego will provide welcome company in London.
The flyweight, who is sharpening his blows ahead of his July 3 departure to England alongside his new teammate, termed surprise inclusion of Adiego as a sign to local boxing authorities need to set development structures for the ailing sport.
“Elizabeth is a good boxer based on her tactics and fitness, the fact that she impressed AIBA and got her chance is a clear sign that we have what it takes to take more boxers at future events.
“With the right plans by the federation, we are willing and ready to up our standards and be a formidable force in the international arena,” he expressed on Thursday.
Adiego was granted a late entry by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) on Wednesday after they ruled she was unfairly judged during her bout against Norwegian Lien Lotte at the Women’s World Boxing Championships held last month in China which served as an Olympic qualifier.
Gicharu added the news was further inspiration for the Delhi silver winner to return a commendable performance in London as he plots to turn professional thereafter.
“I will later work into moving onto the bantam weight which is a requirement to join World Series of Boxing to improve in the sport and also earn more,” he explained.
Boxing head coach, Patrick Kamau echoed his protégé adding that apart from the obligation to address the dwindling standards of the sport, the stakeholders should use the sport to diversify the medal prospects at the global showpiece.
“The development is a source of joy for us since we only began concentrating on this gender about four years ago which means that the talent is evident
“We still have many miles to go but the addition of Elizabeth should serve as an eye opener as we embark on promoting growth of women boxing.”
Adiego was among the country’s six boxers chasing qualification at the AIBA championships held in Qinhuangdao, China while Gicharu emerged the sole qualifier during the corresponding men African qualifiers in Morocco.
While it will be a first time for Kenya to send a female boxer to the Olympics, Gicharu will be aiming to emulate the late Robert Wangila who remains the only pugilist and competitor outside athletics to win gold during the 1988 Games in Seoul.
The boxing competition will be held at the Excel Exhibition Centre in London from July 28 to Aug 12.