NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 9 – Kenya’s boxing team for Tokyo 2020 Africa Olympic Games qualifiers will be unveiled at the end of this week after an intensive training camp in Nanyuki ahead of the qualifiers slated for February 20-28 in Dakar, Senegal.
The ‘Hit Squad’ team as they are fondly referred, was on Sunday visited by the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK), who assured them maximum support as the head coach Benjamin Musa exuded confidence of ensuring more Kenyan boxers seal the Olympic slot.
NOCK Acting Secretary General, Francis Mutuku lauded Boxing Federation Kenya (BFK) for their contribution towards the success of Kenya at the Olympics and challenged the current crop of fighters to emulate the standards of past heroes.
“Boxing has been the number two sport in bringing medals from the Olympics in the past, behind athletics. This time round with the preparations they have undergone, we are confident they can reclaim the past glory.
As NOC-K, we wish them well ahead of the African Olympic qualifiers in Senegal and assure them of our support in what is the first phase of their program and we are looking forward to be with them in Tokyo 2020,” Mutuku underscored while handing over two pair of training gear to the boxers.
Mutuku, who was accompanied by NOC-K treasurer Anthony Kariuki and executive member Shoaib Vayani, warned the athletes not to engage in doping as they risked jeopardizing their careers.
“We have the talent so we should always strive to fight clean. Doping issues arise mostly due to lack of knowledge and that is why NOC-K has availed a doctor at the training camp to help in guiding the boxers concerning prohibited substances,” added Mutuku.
Musa reiterated the Hit Squad target of taking as many boxers as possible to the Tokyo Games.
“The morale in camp has been high since Day One. Everyone has shown the commitment required and as a coach that is all you can ask for. We now wait to name the final team at the end of the week and then hope for good performances in Dakar.”
Team captains Elizabeth Andiego and Nick Okoth promised to ensure the fighters are fully focused on achieving their goals.
“We have trained well for the past one month. Now those who will get the opportunity to make the team to Senegal must endeavour to make Kenya proud and ensure as boxers, we fly the Kenyan flag high in Tokyo,” the team captains said.
The Kenyan boxing contingent is expected in Senegal on February 17, 2020 ahead of the qualifiers starting to February 20-28.
BFK President Anthony Jamal Otieno thanked NOCK for the support given to the national boxing team and challenged the fighters to repay the faith shown in them by the local Olympic body and earn many qualifications slots to the Tokyo Games.
“On behalf of BFK, I want to commend NOCK for the support they have given the federation to ensure our boxers go into camp in good time and particularly for organising the residential camp in Nanyuki, where the team trained without any distractions.The boxers have no excuse not to do well in Senegal and I am pretty confident we will have a record number of them in Tokyo,” said the BFK boss.