Kenyans in final hurdle as they eye Paris Games slots

Bantamweight boxer Amina Martha during training at Mathare Police Depot. She is eyeing a ticket to the Olympics. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

As the countdown to the Olympic Games in Paris continues, there is even more pressure not only on Kenyan boxers, but all boxers across the continent as they chase the elusive tickets to the Olympics.

It has not been smooth sailing for African boxers and as they head to Bangkok, Thailand for the second leg of World Olympic Qualifier, Africa is holding its breath for the boxers with the continent in danger of having very few boxers at the Olympics.

For Kenyan boxers, many think it could be same old story in their battle to get the tickets and coach Benjamin Musa and his charges will have to do something different if Kenya is to send any boxers to Paris in July.

And after landing safely in Bangkok on Tuesday, coach Benjamin thinks that knowing opponents of each boxer would assist the technical bench devise winning strategies and help Kenya get the Olympics tickets.

He said morale was high in the camp in their final attempt to qualify for the Olympics.

Benjamin said after analysing each opponent, then the technical bench would know the approach to take in each match in matches involving all players.

He said the event was crucial for their Paris Olympics qualification and therefore was not ready to gamble with any boxer.

“This is serious to us and we are keen to have some of our boxers get to the podium for us to earn a few tickets to the Olympics,” Benjamin told Standard Sports from Thailand yesterday.

All coaches and their team managers from all participating countries were yesterday engaged in a marathon meeting with International Olympic Committee officials before coming up with the draws.

The qualifiers start today.

Kenya sent a team of six boxers - three male and three female boxers to the showpiece.

They are captain and Nelson Mandela Cup middleweight gold medallist Elizabeth Andiego, assistant captain and Africa Championships light middleweight bronze medallist Boniface Mogunde, welterweight Frizah Anyango and the 2018 Commonwealth Games flyweight bronze medallist Christine Ongare.

Others are All Africa Games middleweight gold medallist Edwin Okong’o and lightweight Amina Martha.

The six players are under the tutelage of three coaches led by Benjamin and assisted by David Munuhe and John Waweru.

He said morale was good in camp from the time their flight touched down in Bangkok.

“We have had no problem from the time we arrived here (Bangkok) and we hope things to run like this until the final day of the event,” said the coach.

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