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Nick 'Commander' Okoth vows to change pecking order

Last updated 3 months ago | By Ochieng Oyugi

Kenya's Nick Okoth after booking a slot to the Tokyo Olympics. [Courtesy]

Nick 'Commander' Okoth, the Hit Squad captain, was over the moon after qualifying for next year's Tokyo Olympic Games.

The Africa featherweight champion has qualified for the summer games alongside Commonwealth bronze medalist Christine 'Mamushka' Ongare, who bagged the women's ticket in the same category.

"I was overjoyed when I booked my Olympic Games ticket during the qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal in February.

"Since then, I have been trying to maintain shape as I wait for Tokyo Games," Okoth said on Wednesday at his training base in Ruai, Nairobi.

"Because of the disease, I have been forced to train alone, without gym and sparring partners.

"I have been assigned three coaches by Boxing Federation of Kenya (BFK) in Musa Benjamin, Dave Munuhe and John Waweru.

"But we only communicate virtually, no personal engagements as it used to be before. At first it looked strange but I'm used to it now," he said.

Okoth's training schedule involves a 45km road run on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday every week.

Now that he doesn't have sparring partners, he does a lot of shadow boxing alone after the runs.

"At the moment I don't do weights gym. I just up the training with push ups, speed work and accuracy," he said.

Okoth, a father of three, says he doesn't strain a lot in his work outs.

"Because of experience, I already know what to do during exercises. I just get along with my pace," he said.

The 2010 Commonwealth Games Bantamweight bronze medalist says his focus in Tokyo is to improve on his 2008 Beijing Games performance where he was controversially eliminated by Aturo Reyes of Mexico in the round of 16.

"Qualifying for Olympics is a daunting task. So I felt bad when I lost in China.

" Now, I thank God I have another chance to improve. I target gold in Tokyo," he said.

The 37-year-old Kenya Defence Forces pugilist intends to give back to the society.

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