Okoth and Andiego set to retire after Commonwealth Games

Nick Okoth (right) and Kennedy Onyango in a past tournament in Nairobi. [File]

As the National Boxing Team heads to Birmingham for the Commonwealth Games, this could be the last international tournament for two experienced boxers who are already qualified AIBA Star One coaches.

The duo is 2015 Africa Boxing Championships lightweight gold medallist and captain Nick Okoth and his deputy who is Africa Zone Three Boxing Championships light heavyweight gold medallist Elizabeth Andiego.

Although the 34-year-old Andiego declined she is not ready to hang up the gloves any time soon, the 38-year-old Okoth admitted this is his last international tournament.

“I have done a great service to the nation and participating in the Club Games is my last official international competition before I venture into molding talents as a way of giving back to the society,” said Okoth.

On her part, Andiego said: “Plans to retire any time soon is not in my vocabulary as I’m taking a tournament at a time with a hope to win medals in future starting these games.”

Other members in the travelling squad are Commonwealth Games flyweight bronze medallist Christine Ongare and Africa Zone Three bantamweight gold medallist Shaffi Hassan Bakari.

They are not ready to disappoint with only a few days before the team departs for the games that commence on July 27 to August 8.

Out of the quartet, it is only Okoth who has taken part in three editions of the games in 2010 (India), 2014 (Glasgow, Scotland) and in 2018 (Gold Coast, Australia) while both Ongare and Andiego have each participated in two games (Glasgow and Gold Coast) and Bakari once in Gold Coast.

Okoth won two bronze medals in India and Glasgow in the lightweight while Ongare managed a bronze medal in the flyweight in Gold Coast as the rest of the two boxers have never won any medal at the Club Games.

In the three games, Okoth plied in the lightweight (60kg) and will do so in the same weight in Birmingham while Andiego also maintained her participation in middleweight (74kg) for the two games and will do so again as Ongare and Bakari have switched in their weight categories.

Ongare who has been a regular participant in the flyweight (49kg) has shifted to minimumweight (48kg) as Bakari moves from flyweight to bantamweight (54kg) for the Birmingham games.

Head coach Musa Benjamin said they have equipped the boxers with all necessary skills after featuring in a number of international championships that have given the playing unit enough exposure.

They include Africa Zone Three Boxing Championships in DRC, Konstatin Korotkov Memorial Boxing Championships in Russia and World Boxing Championships in Yugoslavia, Serbia (men) and Istanbul, Turkey (women).

 

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