Knockout blow as no Kenyan boxer will fight at the Olympics

Nelson Mandela Cup middleweight gold medallist Elizabeth Andiego (in red) exchanges puches with two time African champion Rady Adosalinda Gramane in the finals of Nelson Mandela Cup at Durban Convention Centre in Durban on April 21, 2024.[Courtesy]

The state of boxing in the country continued to sink even lower yesterday after it became official that no Kenyan boxer will be on the plane to Paris for the Olympic Games in July.

It will be the first time that Kenyan boxers will be missing from the Olympics since the scoring system was introduced at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

The poor show in Bangkok, Thailand where all Kenyan boxers lost was however not a surprise to many going by what has been witnessed in recent years.

It was clear for everyone to see that this was going to happen sooner rather than later with the Boxing Federation of Kenya (BFK) having decided to stick with the same technical bench for years.

One would have seen that even though we had boxers at 2020 Tokyo Olympics and 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, there were signs that our level was dropping drastically and missing out on the tickets to Paris is just a result of doing same things all the time and expecting different results.

Before going to Thailand for the last leg of the Olympic qualifiers last week, Kenyan boxers had failed miserably at the Africa Olympic Qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal last year and in the first leg of the World Olympic Qualifiers in Italy in March this year.

Questions will once again be asked of the long serving technical bench led by head coach Musa Benjamin and assistant coaches David Munuhe and John Waweru.

it is ironical that the members of the technical bench are also elected BFK officials.

The team better known as the Hit Squad even though they seem to have lost the punch in recent years, has been to a number of events with little success, but the big question is will BFK continue doing the same thing allover again even after the disastrous results at the Olympic qualifiers?

Benjamin was quick to defend the poor show saying most of them were young boxers who have started to take shape in international events.

“Most of our boxers save for one are young whose international career has started to take shape. They must be given time before maturing just like others who reached the same (global) stages but qualified either on their second or third attempt,” the coach said.

Team captain Elizabeth Andiego is the most experienced boxer in the squad having participated in two Olympics, the last one being 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

And after her elimination, Andiego was disappointed.

She said her loss on unanimous points’ decision to Irina Nicole Schoenberger of Germany in the middleweight bout was biased. Andiego alleged she had been robbed.

“I was good all round in all the three rounds as my speed and punches were always accurate on target. I wonder how she had beaten me?” she said.

BFK had a squad of six boxers in Thailand who all lost in the initial stages save for one who won the first match but was beaten in the second one.

They were captain Andiego, assistant captain Boniface Mogunde, welterweight Frizah Anyango, middleweight Edwin Okong’o, bantamweight Amina Martha and heavyweight Peter Abuti.

Of the six boxers, it’s only Okong’o who won the first match but lost the second one.

Okong’o knocked out Mahamadou Gory of Mali in a light heavyweight in the Round of 64 but fell to Ganzorig Dalai of Mongolia on points in the next round (Round of 32).

In other matches in Bangkok Mogunde lost to Walsh Aiden of Ireland, Anyango was eliminated by Emily Sovinco of France (Round 32) and Martha fell to Scarlett Delgado of Canada.

Abuti lost to Bereznicki Mateusz of Poland in the last match on Thursday.

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