NAIROBI, Aug. 11 (Xinhua) — Only four women boxers will represent Kenya at the Africa Games, which start in Rabat, Morocco from Aug 19-30.
Women’s boxing team captain Lorna Kusa, an African bronze medalist, is optimistic she will improve her seeding and clinch gold for Kenya.
“Boxing used to attract a lot of respect and medals for Kenya in Africa Games. But that died out a few years ago and we need to resuscitate it and strike gold in Morocco. I am hopeful to live my dream and bring home a gold medal,” Kusa told Xinhua on Sunday in Nairobi.
Kenya has entered a huge contingent of 290 athletes in at least 21 disciplines including boxing, volleyball, karate, athletics, and basketball.
But it is boxing and volleyball that have supplemented the Kenyan medals in Africa games alongside athletics. In the last games, boxing had three bronze medals, but Kusa believes the dearth in golds will end in Morocco.
Kusa has been training under head coach Benjamin Musa and feels ready to face her opponents. The mother of two admitted that the going has been tough but she was confident of living up to expectations.
“I have set my sights on a gold medal in Morocco and I am happy my training has been going on well as I seek to achieve my target. It has not been easy juggling between training and caring for my children but I find it quite manageable and my focus is quite undeterred,” she added.
However, Kusa decried the lower interest from young girls to take up boxing and urged the country to invest in players’ welfare and raise awareness of the sport in schools.
“Having come from the informal settlements, this game has made me who I am today and I thank God. I know most girls look at boxing as an impossibility but I want to show them that it’s a sport like any other,” said Kusa.
Boxing Association of Kenya (BAK) secretary David Munuhe said Kenya’s team must strive to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee, referencing Mohammed Ali.
“We have the potential and talent. But we need to believe in ourselves and fight strategically. Kenya will dominate the Africa Games and use it as a test run for the Tokyo Olympic Games,” said Munuhe.