RABAT, Morocco, Aug 30 – Africa Games silver medallist in the men’s flyweight (52kg), Shaffi Bakari is determined to fly Kenya’s flag at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as he shifts focus to qualifying for the summer games.
Shaffi, 25, outlined that the 5-0 defeat to Botswana’s Mohammed Rajab in the final, gave him the urge to go work harder and improve on his weakness so that he be ready for the Olympics qualifier that are scheduled for February 2020.
The National Police Service boxer, picked an injury in the left arm when he blew away Ugandan Businge Champion in the quarterfinal.
Hit squad head coach, Benjamin Musa assured Shaffi will be treated and be fit for international matches that will act as build up for the Tokyo Games.
“The journey for the Africa Games was nice because we have good coaches, they prepared us well back at home and that’s why we collected good results. We thank God for the medals, it was good performance, I believe next time we will all come with gold,” Shaffi told Capital Sport in Rabat.
He added, “I will go work harder, I will not relax because I have won this, I will go work on the mistakes we picked here so that next time it’s not repeated. Olympics is my target. Boxing is growing in Kenya and thus the results can confirm that.”
Head coach, Benjamin Musa said; “When shaffi recovers, we will go back to training to work on his weakness and I believe the African title the next time it will be won by Shaffi. By the time we play the Olympic qualifiers for Boxing he will be fit,” Musa underscored.
The Hit Squad who picked one silver and four bronze, registered the best performance in the games for the first time since 2007 when Kenya won gold in the Light Flyweight thanks to Suleiman Bilali.
“This result is as the result of good preparations, it’s not only about physical fitness, but it needs mental preparations too, the federation has helped us, the players have been motivated thus giving us coaches easy work,” Musa added.
“I thank God for the medals we won, I am confident in the upcoming games we will do better, the results we picked here has challenged us to work even better. We don’t want to settle for less.”
The girls team of Elizabeth Andiego (middleweight 75kg), Everlyne Akinyi (Lightweight 60kg), Christine Ongare (Flyweight 51kg), and Lorna Kusa (Welterweight 69kg) did not manage to scoop a medal but head coach Musa was pleased with their improvement.
“There is an improvement from our girls as well, even though they did not win any medal, they did well. We will work on speed work, throwing punches in bunches as well as combination of movements and all be good.”
The boxers are expected to depart for Nairobi Monday.