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SPORTS

Kenyan female boxers ready to roar at World Championships

BOXING By Ben Ahenda | November 3rd 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, Anthony Wallace]

Kenyan female boxers have intensified their training ahead of next month’s World Women Boxing Championships in Istanbul, Turkey. 

 

Having seen their male counterparts perform dismally in the World Boxing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia last week, the boxers are determined to make Kenyans proud. 

Although they have been preparing for the competition without national coaches, who are still in Belgrade, Commonwealth Games flyweight bronze medallist Christine Ongare is eager to replicate her performance in Australia three years ago.

“We are ready to give our best at the global championships and possibly win medals for the country having featured in a number of international assignments this and last year,” Ongare, who was a member of the National Boxing Team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, told Standard Sports.

And the boxers are motivated by the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) recent cash reward announcement that will see gold medallists take home 100,000 dollars (Sh11 million), silver medallists 50,000 dollars (Sh5.5 million) and bronze medallists 25,000 dollars (Sh2.7 million).

For national welterweight champion Elizabeth Akinyi this the time for her to use her international experience and win a medal.

“Time has come for us to focus on the global championships with an aim to win medals in Istanbul,” Akinyi said.

The duo was part of the national team that featured at the 2019 Africa Olympics Qualifiers in Senegal, 2021 Africa Zone Three Boxing Championships in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo, 2021 Konstantin Korotkov Memorial Boxing Championships in Khabarovsk, Russia and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Akinyi, who was eliminated in the first round in Tokyo, said she is determined to improve on her performance as opposed to her performance in Istanbul.

Though a number of boxers has not yet been revealed, Boxing Federation of Kenya Technical Director Alberto Matito said they are confident of sending a strong team to the global championships.

”We’ll send a team to Turkey for the global championships but the federation’s executive will meet later to determine on the number of boxers who’ll grace the occasion,” said Matito. Kenya was represented by 13 boxers at the men’s global showpiece in Serbia but unfortunately none of them went past the first round of their bouts.

National lightweight champion Akinyi Evelyn feels she has what it takes to make the team ahead of the selection trials to be held in Nairobi on November 17 during the first leg of Jamal’s Cup Championships.

“I have been training for the past four weeks to improve on my fitness levels and I must knock out someone at the Jamal’s Cup to book my ticket to the global championships,” she said.

The national team coaches are expected to join the team upon their arrival from Belgrade and after the selection process.

They are head coach Musa Benjamin and assistant coaches David Munuhe, John Waweru, Charles Ayoma and Chris Onyango.

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