News that the Boxing Federation of Kenya (BFK) will be rolling out a customized package for children in Kenyan schools couldn’t have come at a better time.
There is a burning desire among pugilism enthusiasts to resuscitate the sport from its deathbed. Nurturing boxers early enough in life could be key to its revival.
The last time Kenya left a mark on the international front was when the late Robert Napunyi punched his way to the gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics.
The performance of the national team has fallen short of expectations of late, with the medal drought at the 2020 Tokyo Games and the IBA World Men’s Boxing Championship underlining Kenya’s diminishing fortunes.
Introducing the sport in Kenyan schools will provide a perfect platform for the budding boxers to sharpen their claws early enough and beat the path for a new generation of world-beaters.
Hopefully, the government will not leave BFK to its own exploits. The need to chip in with timely assistance has never been greater and more urgent than now.
In previous interviews with the local media, Hit Squad gaffers said the team registered a miserable run on the global stage because of a lack of pertinent support from relevant authorities.
The government through the Sports Funds should provide adequate financial support that will facilitate Hit Squad’s adequate preparations, including traveling abroad for preparations ahead of the competition.
Also of importance is the need to organise many seminars for parents and teachers in order to sensitize them on the need to introduce our young ones to boxing at such a tender age.
Obviously, the idea is bound to run into deep reservations given that many people associate boxing with violence. This calls for the provision of appropriate information to all the stakeholders.
Even as BFK plans to roll out the inaugural edition of the tournament in March, it must also ensure the current crop of Hit Squad members are afforded the right kind of attention.
It’s unfortunate to note that a large percentage of erstwhile celebrated Hit Squad members are languishing in abject poverty owing to absolute neglect.
A member of the national team, David Karanja, attributed their poor run to the psychological implications of unemployment. He may be having a point. It’s virtually impossible to achieve any meaningful results on an empty stomach.
Perhaps BFK could consider enticing public and private sector honchos to absorb boxers who have proved their mettle on the international stage.
Equally important is the growing need to expose local boxers to a modern technical and tactical approach. This can be achieved best through capacity building that will ensure the right kind of information trickles down to the grassroots.
While the rest of the world continues to embrace a more mental approach to winning bouts, Kenyan boxers are apparently still stuck in the use of excessive brawls.
Lastly, BFK deserves a pat on the back for supporting the women’s boxing program. The fact that Kenya can now take women to major competitions such as the Olympics clearly testifies to the rapid growth of the sport in the country.