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Okoth, Ongare lined for bumper rewards

By Christopher Owuor
Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020
From left: Christine Ongare and Nick Okoth display their Tokyo Games qualifying cards shortly after arriving at JKIA from Dakar, Senegal, yesterday. Photo/PD/RODGERS NDEGWA

  by Amos Abuga

@PeopleDailyKe

Boxing Federation of Kenya (BFK) intends to handsomely reward boxers who won medals and those who qualified for the Olympics from the just-concluded qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal.

Team Kenya, popularly known as ‘Hit Squad’, jetted back into the country yesterday morning after two boxers secured tickets to the July 24 to August 9 games in Tokyo, Japan while four won medals (one silver and three bronze) and BFK boss Anthony ‘Jamal’ Ombok is keen to ensure they are motivated.

“I am happy for the kind of training our boxers had before the qualifiers. It was a fulfilling one.

I want to thank everyone for the role they have played for the last two months in the road to Olympics,” said Jamal.

He added: “I had promised to reward any boxer who will come home with a medal, that I intend to do and for those who have qualified, there will be something special for them.”

The team of 13 (eight men and five women) had hopes of clinching more than the three slots Kenya managed for the 2016 games but only managed two, skipper Nick ‘Commander’ Okoth and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Christine Ongare securing the tickets.

Ongare defeated Uganda’s Catherine Nanziri in the Box-Off of the women’s flyweight (48-51kgs) in a unanimous decision to also bag a bronze medal in the continental tourney while Okoth secured his ticket in the men’s featherweight (52-57kgs) by reaching Saturday’s final where he clinched silver.

Qualifiers

Coach Musa Benjamin is, however, happy with the outcome. “Before leaving, we all knew the task ahead was not going to be easy. I want to thank my technical team for what we have achieved.

While we may have wanted more, we have to be happy with what we got,” said Musa, who trained the boxers at the Mathare Deport before shifting to Nanyuki for a two-week camp. 

Olympian Raytwon Okwiri, who was eliminated in the second round of the qualifiers, intends to continue training with the hope of featuring in the World qualifying tournament due in May 13-20 in Paris.

“I still maintain my elimination was not fair. Going to Paris will be like another opportunity in my quest to make back-to-back Olympics appearances,” said Okwiri, who joined Benson Gicharu and Nick Abaka in the 2016 games.