Tokyo beckons for Kenya’s Olympic hopefuls in Dakar


Africa Boxing Championship gold medallist Nick Okoth in a past action. Photo/ Courtesy.
(FILE)Africa Boxing Championship gold medallist Nick Okoth in a past action. Photo/ Courtesy.

In Summary

  • Four fighters will carry Kenya's hopes of earning boxing representation at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games when the semi-finals of the African qualifiers begin in Dakar, Senegal
  • With his 37th birthday only days away, Nick Okoth could earn himself an early birthday gift on Wednesday by punching his way back to the Olympics when he takes on Ugandan Isaac Masembe

Four fighters will carry Kenya’s hopes of earning boxing representation at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games when the semi-finals of the African qualifiers begin in Dakar, Senegal.

With his 37th birthday only days away, Nick Okoth could earn himself an early birthday gift on Wednesday by punching his way back to the Olympics when he takes on Ugandan Isaac Masembe.

Victory over Masembe will earn him a ticket back to the Summer Games over a decade after he last featured at Beijing 2008.

The Kenyan soldier knocked out Pedro Gomes, of Angola, in their featherweight quarterfinals bout, winning a unanimous points decision.

“This is why they call me commander! am a corporal in the Kenya Armed Forces but in the ring I am the commander and you can see why. I have been here for some time and I know I’m one of the veterans but this is my best and last chance to qualify for the Olympics,” Okoth said after his quarterfinal win.

In the men’s Heavyweight  81-91kg category Elly Ajowi Ochola, will take on Baala Youness of Morocco after defeating Maroy ‘Buffalo’ Sadiki of the Democratic Republic of Congo, 3-2 split points decision

“The Congolese was tough because he is the type who keeps changing his legs. He really confused me with that and then he is also strong, so he really tested my movements. Next up is the Moroccan who I have watched fighting many times, but I’m here ready and waiting,” Ochola said after winning the quarterfinal bout

In the women’s Flyweight 48-51kg Kenya’s Christine Ongare will take on Cheddar Rahab of Morocco, in the quarters Ongare, started aggressively and got results against No. 2 seed, Modestine Munga Zalia, of the Democratic Republic of Congo, to win a unanimous points decision.

“I dreamed of this, I know with amateur you don’t train for the person you are going to meet; you train for all and any kind of opponents. My focus is not here, I am just passing through I want to make history. I just started boxing as a joke but it’s just last year that I learnt than an uncle boxed so it could be in our blood.” She said

At flyweight, three of the four semi-finalists will qualify for Tokyo.

The last Kenyan fighter dreaming for a spot in the Olympics is Elizabeth Akinyi who is set to meet Bel Ahbib Oumayma of Morocco in the Welterweight 64-69kg.

She defeated Osuman Faruza of Ghana in the quarterfinals.

-Additional information by Olympic Channel

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