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Hit Squad goes hunting for glory in Russia

BOXING By Ben Ahenda | May 4th 2021
Northern Ireland's Carly McNaul (L) and Kenya's Christine Ongare fight during their women's 51kg semi-final boxing match during the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games at the Oxenford Studios venue on the Gold Coast on April 13, 2018. / AFP PHOTO

As they prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the national boxing team, Hit Squad', will take part in the Konstantin Korotkov Memorial Boxers' Cup Internarional, in Russia, from May 10-18.

The nine-day tournament will be held at Lenina Regional Sports Complex Stadium.

The team of four boxers, who have already qualified for Olympics, will face some of the top European boxers who are also shaping up for the Summer Games.

The four Kenyan boxers are 2015 Africa Boxing championships lightweight (60kg) gold medallist Nick 'Commander' Okoth, double Olympian and Africa Zone Three super heavyweight (over 91kg) gold medallist Elly Ajowi, Commonwealth Games flyweight (48kg) bronze medallist Christine Ongare and national lightweight (58kg) champion Elizabeth Akinyi.

Okoth will fight in the featherweight (57kg) and Ajowi heavyweight (91kg) at the Olympics.

The quartet will be accompanied by head coach Musa Benjamin, assistant coaches David Munuhe and John Waweru, Communication Director Duncan Kuria, while the team manager will be Linus Ouma.

Coach Benjamin said they have already received a nod from the Ministries of Health and Sports to continue with their preparations for the trip in line with stipulated Covid-19 guidelines.

"We are ready for the big boys in the European league. This gives us the courage ahead of the Olympic Games," Benjamin told Standard Sports.

The team leaves on Saturday. Initially, the tournament was to be held in The Netherlands but was switched to Khabarovsk.

This will be the second international competition the team will be taking part in. They first competed in the Africa Zone Three Championships in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo in March.

Kenya was represented by 16 boxers in Kinshasa, where they won 13 medals; one gold, five silver and seven bronze medals.

Yesterday, Benjamin said the team was responding well to training at AV Fitness Centre in Lavington, Nairobi.


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