NAIROBI, Kenya, August 5- Kenya’s lone female pugilist Elizabeth Andiego saw the opportunity to face her role model boxed into the exit door when she failed to qualify for the middleweight quarters on Sunday.
Andiego on her Olympic debut lost 20-11 to Kazakhstan opponent, Volnova Marina, a former world silver medallist in their round of 16 to lose out on a cherished encounter against World champion Marshall Savannah of Great Britain who was given a bye in her fight.
She lost the first three rounds (6-3, 5-3, 6-2) and drew 3-3 in the final one during the bout held at the Excel Centre Arena in London and became the second Kenyan boxer to lose in the preliminary rounds after flyweight Benson Gicharu, was eliminated 19-16 by Egyptian Hesham Abdel-Aal on Monday.
Her debut survived a major test when she fell ill last week due to food poisoning, but she quickly recovered after intervention by Kenya’s medical team and the Olympics Village Polyclinic staff.
She was given a wild card to the event by world governing body, International Boxing Association, AIBA in June after they reviewed the judges’ ruling of her last bout against Norwegian Lien Lotte during the Women’s World Boxing championships in China.
Andiego was among the country’s six boxers who participated at the qualifiers in Qinhuangdao but lost by three points to Lotte in that bout.
She joined Gicharu, the Commonwealth silver medallist among other pugilists for intensive training in Cardiff, Wales from July 5 ahead of the games where they were to get the much needed exposure to match up to the opposition in London.
This was the first time in history that a Kenyan female boxer was competing at the Olympics as Kenya hoped to widen its medal prospect to the discipline, but now all hope lie with the athletics line up.