Members of the Kenya national boxing team ‘Hit Squad’, have expressed fear that the prolonged ban on sporting activities might compromise their chances of strutting to the medal podium at the Tokyo Olympics in July and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next year.
Head coach Benjamin Musa is getting increasingly scared about the elusive opportunities in sharpening the pugilists ahead of the games. The tactician said competitive bouts had suddenly decreased in nature due to the prevalence of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We need at least two tournaments to be in the best shape for the Olympics. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has hit most of the countries hard and it’s very difficult for the boxers to train,” said Musa.
His remarks were echoed by Boxing Federation of Kenya communications director Duncan Kuria on Friday.
Kuria expressed fear that the Hit Squad’s blade was increasingly becoming blunt due to lack of competitive bouts, adding the situation could have been worse if they had not sent a team to Kinshasa in March.
“The Hit Squad had been in camp for five months without participating in any tournament and so the Africa Zone 3 Boxing Championship in Kinshasa was like God sent,” he observed.
Kenya deployed a team of 16 pugilists to attend the tournament, including 12 men and four women, who came back with a medal each.
Heavyweight Elly Ajowi was the toast of the event, being the only member of the squad who returned with a gold medal.
Kuria observed that Kenya was not all alone in the predicament given almost all the countries had to shelve their plans as the negative implications of the coronavirus pandemic came to the fore.
“Lack of tournaments has been a real shortcoming in Africa. The last time boxers from sub- Sahara participated in competitive bouts was during the 2020 African Olympics qualifiers in Dakar Senegal,” said Kuria.
“Here in Kenya, we were not able to assemble a team for the World Junior Championship in Poland since we could not organise a tournament to select a team as boxing has been suspended.”