Okoth, Ongare to lead ‘Hit Squad’ at Africa Zone Three championships


Okoth, Ongare to lead 'Hit Squad' at Africa Zone Three championships

In Summary

  • Hit squad captain and 2014 Africa Boxing Championships gold medalist Nick ‘Commander’ Okoth and national flyweight champion Christine Ongare will lead 16 players for the Africa Zone Three Championships in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo from 22nd – 26th March 2021.
  • The two who have already qualified for 2020 Tokyo Olympics will take the event as a training session ahead of the games while the rest will use it as a platform to showcase their prowess after a disastrous performance in Dakar, Senegal last year during the African Olympic Qualifiers.

Hit squad captain and 2014 Africa Boxing Championships gold medalist Nick ‘Commander’ Okoth and national flyweight champion Christine Ongare will lead 16 players for the Africa Zone Three Championships in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo from 22nd – 26th March 2021.

The two who have already qualified for 2020 Tokyo Olympics will take the event as a training session ahead of the games while the rest will use it as a platform to showcase their prowess after a disastrous performance in Dakar, Senegal last year during the African Olympic Qualifiers.

The captain says is eager to lead from the front.

“The journey here was very smooth with minimal stopovers. The most important thing was to reach safely to this ‘war zone’.

“I want to guage myself after applying all the new tactics that I have learnt in training and am very positive about it.

“I want to be in the first bout so that I can use it to give confidence to the upcoming boxers because there are one or two I have seen since we touched down who look timid, that why am talking a lot to uplift them.” Said okoth.

His sentiments were echored by his compatriot Christine Ongare.

“Am now here in Kinshasa after a very long period of training.

“Now I want to see how far I am. The Kenya flag has to fly high. Am very confident am here to win and nothing less,” Said Ongare.

The boxers have been in camp since late last year after the government allowed national teams to prepare for international assignments following months of inactivity due to Covid-19 outbreak.

Head coach Benjamin Musa said the Kinshasa championships was a perfect tournament to gauge the fitness of those who have already qualified for the Olympics and those still aspiring to do so.

A total of 13 countries are expected to feature in the six-day-championships in Kinshasa.

They are hosts DRC, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo Brazzaville, Ethiopia, Central African Republic, Equitorial Guinea and Gabon.

Kenya’s legion got a shot in the arm on Friday after the Tokyo Olympics boxing taskforce gave qualifications berths to Elly Ajowi (heavyweight) and Elizabeth Akinyi (middleweight) after ranking them above their competitors meaning that Kenya will now be represented by four pugilists at the Tokyo Olympics set for July.

The team include flyweight Shaffi Bakari (Police) and David Karanja (Nairobi), featherweight Nick Okoth (KDF), lightweight Joseph Shigali (Police) and Victor Odhiambo (KDF).

Others are welterweight Boniface Mogunde (Police), middleweight George Cosby (Police), light heayweight Edwin Okongo (KDF) and Hezron Maganga (KDF), heavyweight Joshua Wasike(Nairobi) and super heavyweight Elly Ajowi (Police).

The female boxers are flyweight Christine Ongare, welterweight Elizabeth Akinyi, lightweight Stacy Atoms and middleweight Elizabeth Andiego.

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Story By Mkalla Wa Mwambodze
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