Coach Musa welcomes “tough” draws for Hit Squad in Russia
Published on: May 12, 2021 12:00 (EAT)
Kenya national boxing team Head Coach Musa Benjamin says his boxers have been drawn against tough opponents, in the first rounds of the Konstantin Korotkov Memorial International Boxing Championship in Russia.
The competition which is exclusive for boxers who have qualified for the forming Tokyo Olympics, is a high profile test for Musa’s quartet ahead of the Japan fiesta, with their medal hunt starting today.
Christine Ongare will be up against Estonian Diana Gorishnaya while Elizabeth Akinyi will face Dominican Maria Moronto.
Elly Ajowi has a date with Moroccan Bala Youness who has previously beaten him twice, in the All Africa Games and Olympic qualifiers while Captain Nick ‘Commander’ Okoth got a bye to the next round.
Musa is however happy his team has the opportunity to fight some of the finest boxers in the championship, noting there is no better way to prepare for the Olympics.
“The draw is tough but that’s what we wanted because we want to gauge our competitiveness. We thank the Ministry of Sports for enabling us to come and participate in this championship because we have not been competing back home in our local league. This is the second competition we are getting after the zone 3 African championship last month in DR Congo.
“We have come a long way to reach where we are today and players are in good mood to face their opponents this time round. Whether we win or lose, it’ll be a good experience,” said Musa.
The tournament has attracted 17 European countries including the hosts Russia and three African countries in Kenya, Morocco and Algeria.
The Russia Boxing Medical Commission conducted weighing in and medical check-ups for all players on Tuesday (May 11, 2021) which was followed by the first boxers taking to the ring.
All the Kenyan boxers were given a clean bill of health by the Russian Health Authority following the medical checks.
The Kenyan delegation in the Championship also includes assistant coaches David Munuhe and John Waweru, international referee Nelson Otieno and Boxing Federation of Kenya Communications Director Duncan Kuria.
All participating countries carried a licensed international referee to be appointed to officiate in the matches and the Boxing Federation of Kenya nominated Otieno who has a wealth of experience having recently officiated in Africa Zone 3 Boxing Championships in Kinshasa.
Otieno also officiated in the World Military Games in South Korea in 2015, and the in the Commonwealth Games hence his preference for the job.