Lack of training gear K’od Team Kenya Rio 2016 boxers


Mongolian fighter, Tsendbaatar Erdenebat in action against Kenya's Benson Gicharu Njagiru. PHOTO/AIBA/Getty
(FILE)Mongolian fighter, Tsendbaatar Erdenebat in action against Kenya's Benson Gicharu Njagiru. PHOTO/AIBA/Getty

Lack of training gear for Team Kenya boxing squad to the 2016 Rio Olympics was the biggest hindrance to their performance at the Summer Games where they failed to progress to the medal bracket in their weight divisions.

According to the Rio 2016 Probe Committee report the three Kenyan boxers who qualified for the event, Rayton Okwiri in welterweight, bantamweight Benson Gicharu and Peter Mungai in the light flyweight under coaches Patrick Maina and David Munuhe were comfortable with camping at the Nakuru Amateur Boxing club for two weeks before travelling to Rio.

However, the team lacked necessary training equipment like skipping ropes and stop watches besides their sparring partners also lacking gear with what was provided for them far from ideal.

“It was not only a problem, it was a big mess. The ones we found were not up to our standards like our technical manager had requested. The only thing they brought was the head gear a day before we travelled,” Boxing Association of Kenya president, John Kameta who was barred from travelling to Rio told Citizen Digital.

“In sport no game is won on the competition day, it is won during the training because in competition day, you only take what you have gained in training that is why I say we lost the fights even before we travelled,” Kameta who clashed with National Olympics Committee-Kenya (Nock) and Ministry of Sports, Arts and Culture officials in the run-up to Rio added.

“How would the sparring partner inspire the fight without a gear?” he posed adding, “We need proper planning, for example one year serious engagement before the next Olympics. We also need international games before a major tournament like the Olympics.”

Off the three qualified boxers, Gicharu who had to travel at his own expense to several events before beating Venezuelan Victor Rodriquez on points in an AIBA Pro-Boxing and World Series of Boxing qualification to book a ticket for Rio was eliminated in the round of 32 by Mongolian Boxer Erdenebat Tsendbaatar.

Peter Mungai lost to Argilagos Perez of Cuba in the quarter finals, while Rayton Okwiri lost in the round of 16 to Mohammed Rabii of Morocco.

-No Judo problem-

Kenya’s judoka Kiplangat Sang (left) in action against Hungary’s Toth Krisztian at the Rio 2016 Olympics. PHOTO/Rio 2016/Getty
Kenya’s judoka Kiplangat Sang (left) in action against Hungary’s Toth Krisztian at the Rio 2016 Olympics. PHOTO/Rio 2016/Getty

Contrary to claims the report stated, the sole Kenyan judoka at Rio 2016 Levy Kiplagat Sang was properly entered for the Olympics and he camped at the General Service Unit (GSU) headquarters in Ruaraka with his coach Sammy Sang.

Kiplagat earned a continental quota spot from African region as the highest-ranked Kenyan judoka outside the direct qualifying position in the International Judo Federation world ranking list of May 30, 2016.

He however, was eliminated in the first round by Krisztian Toth of Hungary for committing four fouls and the report added “which seemed as he was not conversant with the latest Judo rules.”

The Probe Committee recommends intervention on Judo’s management in the country as they are two parallel federations running the sport since 2012, Kenya Judo Association, which is recognized by the International Judo Federation and Kenya Judo Federation which is silently supported by Nock.

Team Kenya’s solo weightlifter James Adede was perhaps the happiest of all Kenyan sportsmen in Rio having received an unused quota place from the International Weightlifting Federation to send a male weightlifter to Rio.

The federation chose Adede who was coached by John Ogolla to compete at the biggest sporting carnival on the planet.

Due to lack of a specialized weightlifting at the Team Kenya camp in Eldoret, Adede pitched base at Kitengela Community Gym that is owed by his coach.

“With the weightlifting team raising no complaints to the Probe Committee and looking forward to applying the lessons learnt at the games, the probe team however recommends the need for a weightlifting gym to be built if international competition results are to improve,” the report underscored.

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Story By Philip Muchiri
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