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SPORTS

Boxing coach Musa Benjamin: We hope Government will approve our trip to Philippines ahead of Olympics

BOXING By Ben Ahenda | May 21st 2021
Christine Ongare in action against Diana Gorishnaya of Estonia during the Konstantin Korotkov Memorial International Boxing Championships in Khabarovsk, Russia, on Wednesday May 12, 2021. [Courtesy KBF]

National Boxing Team head coach Musa Benjamin is still hopeful the Government will approve their trip to the Philippines for the final international friendly boxing championships before they head to Japan for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

If the trip is not feasible, Benjamin said they'll still be contented with another one in any of the top European boxing nations preferably Denmark, Ukraine or Germany.

Speaking exclusively to The Standard Sports three days after their arrival from Russia where they took part in the Konstatin Korotkov Memorial International Boxing Championships, Benjamin said that was the way to go in preparations for international assignments.

"Another tournament of the same magnitude like the Russian Championships is what we need to strengthen and spur confidence and performance of boxers before we start official residential training at Moi International Sports Centre in Kasarani," Benjamin said.

He said boxers also need time to heal and rest before residential training and appealed for approval of the trip in good time to involve the same four boxers who featured in the Russian Championships.

It is the quartet of captain and 2015 Africa Boxing Championships lightweight gold medalist Nick Okoth, Olympian and Africa Zone Three super heavyweight gold medalist Elly Ajowi, Commonwealth Games flyweight bronze medalist Christine Ongare and national welterweight champion Elizabeth Akinyi.

"This trip is also ideal for us as earlier planned among the two international friendly tournaments we were to attend ahead of the official residential training camp," the National coach told The Standard Sports.

Boxing instructor Benjamin Musa at Kasarani Stadium on Wednesday 7, 2019. [Jonah Onyango, The Standard]

However, it seems time is not on their side as all Kenyan teams that have qualified for the Olympics are scheduled to enter residential training in the next three weeks.

The Kenyan teams that have already qualified for the games are the National Sevens rugby teams for men and women - Shujaa and Kenya Lionesses, the National Women Volleyball team- Malkia Strikers, Athletics Squad, judo and shooting teams.

Benjamin said on Friday his main aim is to have the four boxers reach the medal bracket at the Olympics and possibly win them.

"It is the reason we urge the Government to approve our trip to the Philippines or to one of the top European boxing nations," he said.

He said the world over all teams that have already qualified for Olympics enter special training three months before the games and take part in several international friendly matches.

"Since time immemorial, teams whose boxers reach the medal bracket at the Olympics are those whose countries take their time to involve their boxers in numerous international matches. And we should not be an exception," he said.

While thanking the Government for their trip to Russia, he said players and the technical bench had learnt a lot from it and thanks the way to go in future international championships.

Captain Kenya Boxing team Nick Okoth. [Jonah Onyango, The Standard]
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