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Okwiri's target in first bout: Boxer aims at making it past preliminary stages in Olympics

BOXING By Tony Owori | August 3rd 2016
Rayton Okwiri

Welterweight boxer Rayton Okwiri has the simple target of making it out of the preliminary stages when he takes the ring for his first bout at the Rio Olympic Games next Sunday.

Okwiri said it was a big achievement that he had made the Olympics as it was third time lucky for him at this year’s games in Brazil.

“Competing at the Olympics is always a dream for any athlete and having failed in two attempts, I am happy to have made it to Rio and will not put a lot of pressure on myself when the competition starts,” Okwiri, who was flanked by his coach Patrick Thuku, told FeverPitch at the Olympics Village yesterday.

He also said it was too early to talk about medal prospects this early before he even knows who his first opponent in the competition will be. The draw will be done on August 6, just one day after the opening ceremony.

Okwiri also said he has rectified mistakes he made at past competitions like the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

His coach Thuku also echoed Okwiri’s sentiments, saying he had worked on rectifying past mistakes which the three boxers in camp have made at past bouts.

“We have lost many bouts in the past due to mistakes, which we realised we could easily have rectified before and our time here in Rio has been dedicated mostly to covering all the loopholes that we have seen before our first boxer takes he ring,” Thuku said.

He said they have worked as a team to ensure they understand the computer scoring system well, something that Kenya’s opponents have always used it to their advantage in past competitions.

“We lost many bouts in the past and have always thought we lost unfairly, but we have realized it is also important to understand the scoring system very well as that I where all bouts are lost and won,” Thuku said.

Kenya has three boxers as part of the Team Kenya to these Olympics. Apart from Okwiri, there is Peter Mungai (light-flyweight) and Benson Gicharu (flyweight).

Mungai will be taking the ring on August 6 while Gicharu, who was the last of the three boxers to book an Olympic slot will have his first bout on August 10.

Thuku said he was impressed with the trio and before the first bout he will make sure they have trained hard to ensure they all strive and be in the medal bracket.

“We have had some sparring sessions with our Ugandan brothers and they are helping us prepare well for the Olympics. We have also chatted with coaches from other teams and they are willing to help us,” he said.

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