Nocks slams Olympics door for boxers shut


Team Kenya fighter and pro boxer, Benson Gicharu, in a weigh in ahead of an ...
Team Kenya fighter and pro boxer, Benson Gicharu, in a weigh in ahead of an international bout. PHOTO/Stafford Ondego/www.sportpicha.com

Kenya will have only two boxers in the Rio 2016 Games after the National Olympics Committee of Kenya (Nock) ruled against financing the late qualification bid of three fighters selected to vie to tickets in Venezuela next month.

Kenya Prisons officer, Rayton Okwiri and Kenya Police Service Constable Peter Mungai will carry the country’s flag in Brazil next month after Rio 2016 Chef-de-Mission and Nock Executive Officer, Stephen Soi, ended the hopes of further boxers making the Rio party.

“We have recommended three boxers for the Venezuela qualifiers: Nick Abuka, Benson Gicharu and Eric Ochieng and have asked Nock for funding in due time to facilitate our participation,” Boxing Association of Kenya (BAK) president, John Kameta earlier told Citizen Digital.

However, Soi poured cold water on the plans by saying they would not accommodate any other participant after Friday’s deadline for submission of the entry list.

“I have no idea of financing a qualifying team after this month, deadline for Rio 2016 Olympics qualification is on 30th,” the official claimed.

“We will therefore, not give out any more money,” the Chef-de-Mission asserted.

Fighters will compete for the 26 Olympic spots remaining in boxing at a qualifying tournament in Vargas, Venezuela with 286 pugilists — 236 men and 50 women set to compete in Rio’s boxing events.

None of six Kenyan boxers qualified for Rio in the recently concluded World Olympic Qualifiers in Baku, Azerbaijan after London 2012 Olympian and the remaining hope Benson Gicharu was eliminated in the quarters by Cuban, Robeisy Ramirez.

Light heavyweight (81 kg), Elly Afowi Ocholla bowed out in the round of 32 when the referee awarded the bout to Nigeria’s Sadaq Umar after the match doctor declined to clear the Kenyan to continue as he had sustained a deep cut above his left eye.

Aziz Ali, 35, also failed to qualify in the men’s heavyweight (91 kg) after he was knocked out by Turk Seyda Kesesr in the round of 16.

Amateur Professional Boxing (APB) middleweight boxer Nick Abaka was the third boxer to be eliminated from the championship after Faraci Devde of Switzerland 3-0 beat him in the first round.

Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) Senior Private Simon Nzioki Mulinge lost out to Iranian Sajad Mohammadpour in the first round in the flyweight (52kg) while Nick Okoth was eliminated after he lost 3-0 to Latvia’s Artjom Ramlavs in the men’s lightweight (60kg).

Welterweight Okwiri defeated Azumah Mohameed of Ghana 3-0 to clinch gold in the qualifiers in March 2016 while lightflyweight Mungai earned wildcard entry after Sibusiso Bandla was rejected by the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee claiming they didn’t recognize him as their boxer.

The Venezuela tournament will only feature boxers with experience in the professional circuit.

Participants will include those from World Series Boxing (WSB) and the International Boxing Association (AIBA along with other pro boxers from around the world.

Report by Edward Mokuah

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