National boxing head coach Benjamin Musa is confident that Kenyan boxers, both male and female will deliver medals at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.
The team of 12 boxers have been in camp for two weeks now, and still have six more weeks of training before the games punch off.
Coach Musa will select his final four, two men and two women, who will be tasked to represent Kenya at the Games, seeking to improve the one medal (bronze medal) thanks to Christine Ongare, achieved at the last edition in 2018 in Gold Coast Australia.
The highest medals that Kenya has bagged in the Commonwealth Games is seven (2 Gold, 2 Silver and 3 Bronze, attained in 1978, where Stephen Muchoki and Michael Irungu won gold, Patrick Waweru and Abdulrahman Athuman while Michael Mwangi, Douglas Maina and Edwin Thande scooped bronze.
“This is the first time that we are going to the Commonwealth Games with equal hopes on both the men and women competitions because we have taken part in various international tournaments that that have given our ladies exposure and has improved their general performance,” said the coach at their training base at the Kasarani sports complex.
Coach Musa has been with the team for a long time and he says he knows when the boxers are ready for competition. He is happy with where the ladies are in preparation.
“If you look at their history in performance, they have not been at this improved level, and after the women world championships last month, they improved a lot. I expect the same for both the men and the women – an improved performance,” he added.
Kasarani has been fitted with a boxing ring with the boxers receiving all the equipment they need for training. Coach Musa hopes for one more chance to gauge the boxers before the Commonwealth Games.
“We are looking for an opportunity for one final exposure for the boxers. We have rectified our mistakes and we want to see how the boxers will perform after this,” concluded the coach.
Elizabeth Andiego, who took part in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow Scotland, in 2014 is optimistic of a better performance in 2022.
“I missed the 2018 edition because of an accident that left me with broken legs. I’m fully recovered and looking forward to the competition. I played at the London Olympics, and what is remaining now is to get a medal,” she said.
Captain Nick Okoth has been at the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games too. He says competition in the team is tight, and the coach has not indicated who he will pick for the games.
“We are quite a number of boxers in camp and the coach is looking at everyone. There is no hiding place. He has no pressure, the coach is very active, he is talking to everyone and looking at everyone.”
“We are now like kids in school who are graduating to the next class. You will find there are those that run to class to grab the best desks and chairs. That is the race we are in now,” observed the captain.