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SPORTS

National Boxing League postponed to next year

BOXING By Ben Ahenda | May 23rd 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 / Anthony WALLACE]

As the National Boxing Team readies itself for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, preparations and effects of the coronavirus pandemic has forced the Boxing Federation of Kenya to push the National Boxing League to next year.

However, the federation is keen to host Kenya Open Boxing Championships this season that will allow all boxers from grassroots to the national level to congregate together as the main serious competition this season.

Boxing Federation of Kenya Competition Secretary John Waweru said only boxers who have passed through National Novices and National Intermediate Championships will be allowed to take part in the Kenya Open Championships.

Waweru said time was not on their side to host all the five legs of the league championships and be sure to give the national team the required attention for the Olympics.

“We cannot host the league championships due to time factor owing to coronavirus pandemic and be sure to give the national team the required attention in readiness for the Olympics, which has forced to change tact in our operations,” he said.

“Time left before the season ends cannot allow us to host competitive league championships and hope the team to pull a formidable performance at the Olympics,” Waweru told The Standard Sports.

Boxing Federation of Kenya Competition Secretary John Waweru. [File, The Standard]

Kenya will send a squad of four boxers to the Olympics.

They are 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.

To prepare for the Olympics, so far the quartet has taken part in two international competitions in Africa Zone Three Boxing Championships in Kinshasa, the Democratic Republic of Congo in March 2021 and the Konstatin Korotkov memorial Boxing Championships in the city of Khabarovsk, Russia this month.

All these were to prepare ‘The Hit Squad’ for the games and Waweru is optimistic the team will perform well at the Olympics set to commence on July 23 to August 8.

He said the local competitions will resume with the National Novice Championships and National Intermediate Championships at the branch level ahead of the national championships, whose dates will be released later.

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