NAIROBI, Kenya, July 15 – Commonwealth Games silver medallist Benson Gicharu, believes new boxers in the team for this month’s outing in Glasgow are capable of improving medal tally they collected in Delhi, India four years ago.
The boxing team nicknamed the ‘Hit squad’ will be leaving nothing to chance with flyweight Gicharu and middleweight female boxer; Elizabeth Andiego, who were at 2012 Olympics, expected to inspire the squad of 11 to better the silver and two bronze medals they harvested in 2010.
“Everybody is ready and eager to compete, it’s only that I was affected with minor shoulder and thigh injuries but I’m okay now.
“We expect to come home with more medals since we have new blood who are all good including the ladies and I’m sure what I have achieved they will too, every athlete’s aim is to win gold and that’s what I will be going for, I came close in India and I believe I can do it even better this time round,” the Kenya Police pugilist told Capital Sport.
The team only had two outings as part of their preparation in Sri Lanka and Mauritius, and Gicharu called upon the Government to invest in the sport for them to compete effectively against other global powers.
“We have not had enough exposure ahead of the Games, we only had two that really helped us gain fitness, that’s why all boxers who attended training in Mauritius qualified during the trials.
“The Government should put more attention in boxing because accessing facilities such as the gym has been a problem, but all the same we will give it our best. I expect stiff opposition from India and Ireland,” the 29-year-old boxer stated.
Head coach Albert Matito, was happy with the new scoring system introduced by International Boxing Association (AIBA) known as ‘10 a must’ where each boxer is entitled to 10 points in the three rounds.
Matito who is aiming at winning five medals among them three gold and his charges are equal to the task after retaining 2010 bronze medallist Nick Okoth, Kenya Police Elly Ajowi and Sri Lanka King Lion International Boxing welterweight champion Rayton Okwiri who were all in India.
“Before the scoring system was changed where we had point by point and ‘20 a must’ there was a lot of cheating but now we have the best which is the ’10 a must’ where if a boxer scores all in the three rounds, he gets 30 points after the total is added.
“Another good thing is that we have five judges who all score but the scoring system will select only three who have scored the best from gold, silver and bronze.
“We have trained the players with real spurring using our local referees to evaluate them so the team is in good shape and I’m sure we will not miss gold,” Matito declared.
Okwiri who will compete in the welterweight category, concurred with his head coach on the scoring system and will be looking to knock out his tough opponents from Canada and Wales to finish in the medal bracket.
“Preparation has been good since my body is responding well physically and technically, the new scoring system is good because it favours us more since we have endurance and stamina unlike before where the scores was showing and the opponent could monitor on the points,” the Kenya Prison athlete said.
The Glasgow Games will for the first time include the female boxers where Kenya will be represented by Andiego and Flyweight Christine Wangare.
Female athletes will compete in the Flyweight, Lightweight and Middleweight categories over four rounds of two minutes, while the male will battle it out in ten categories over three rounds in a knockout bout format, across eight days of fierce competition.
The team alongside, Cycling, Squash, Table Tennis and Weight Lifting were the second batch to depart on Tuesday.