Kenyan boxers relish Sri Lanka success

Monday, 5 May 2014 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The Standard Digital: Team Kenya for the Lions Cup International Boxing tournament in Sri Lanka have returned home to a warm reception  after winning  gold, silver and a bronze. At Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to receive the team was Commonwealth Sports Council Director Reuben Ndolo and Boxing Association of Kenya (BAK) officials led by President John Kameta. Kenya ended the contest fourth overall among 12 nations including Australia, Belgium, Taipei, China, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia among others that participated. Kenya Prisons’s boxing sensation Rayton Okwiri gave the country a first ever Gold after 13 years in the championship. Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) boxer Denis Okoth won for the country Silver in a controversial light welter final that even fans from the host country believed he was robbed. Simon Mulinge, also of KDF, won the bronze while other boxers in the five  man Kenya “Hit Squad” team was Olympian Benson Gicharu (Bantam) and John Kariuki (Light) who were both eliminated in the quarters. Okwiri won the welter weight category after edging out opponents from Australia (3-0), Sri Lanka (3-0), Philippines (2-1, semi) and Belgium (2-0, finals). While admitting it was a tough battle against his Philippine opponent who knocked him down in the semi’s first round before he managed to pay back in a similar fashion in the third round Okwiri said he learnt valuable lessons that will help him in his chase for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games title. “I and the rest of the team will have to step up training to improve on our punching power, strength and supplementary,” said the Gold medallist, whose role model is American world beater Floyd Mayweather. Okwiri believes it is only boxers from Wales and Canada who poses a threat to Kenya at the Commonwealth Games and the tactics learnt in Sri Lanka will be vital to ward off the threat and challenge. Ndolo said Kenya was able to win the coveted gold and post impressive result in the global tournament due to the new found unity in BAK hatched two weeks ago at the Commonwealth trials in Kaloleni, Nairobi. “Sports is a great unifying factor, BAK has started to reap its fruits because of unity in the federation. Unity is what can eliminate terrorism in this country,” said Ndolo. Kameta said the federation has long term focus with the team with an ultimate target of 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in Brazil.