• I think it was a timely decision by WBC to allow boxers to represent their countries as it happens in other international competitions like football or athletics-Okwiri.
• Coaches led by Benjamin Musa and David Munuhe will make a final decision on who will be on the trip to Senegal at the end of the week.
Experienced boxers Nick Okoth and Rayton Okwiri are in the last chance saloon as they bid to clinch an elusive Olympic medal at the Tokyo 2020 Games.
Okoth (36) and Okwiri (34) are among a host of members of the national boxing team who will leave the country this weekend for the African Olympic qualifiers scheduled for Dakar, Senegal.
Okwiri, who was at the Rio Games in 2016, where he lost in the preliminary round, said that his decision to move back into ‘Open Boxing’ from the paid rank was a testament of his desire to land a medal to crown what has been a cherished career in the ring.
“It is what I have always dreamt of all my life. The pinnacle of any athlete's career is to wear the national colours at the Olympics. I have done that already and my next target is to try and get a medal to my name,” said the Africa Boxing Union (ABU) middleweight champion.
Okwiri managed to move back into the amateur ranks after the World Boxing Council relaxed its stringent rules on professional fighters allowing them to represent their countries in Olympics or Commonwealth Games.
“I think it was a timely decision by WBC to allow boxers to represent their countries as it happens in other international competitions like football or athletics. I believe this will enhance the quality of fighters as they are able to engage opponents from different nations and can also make a living from the sports regardless of their status,” said Okwiri.
Team captain Okoth, one of the oldest fighters, who will be hoping to make the final team of eight male and five female fighters for the Dakar trip, said he too had the desire of earning a berth at the Olympics having featured in the competition in Beijing 2008.
“This is my last chance as a boxer of competing for a medal at the Olympics stage. We know the qualifiers will not be easy because everyone is determined to be at the Tokyo Games. We have trained well and I think I am in the right frame physically and mentally to earn a place in the games,” said the lightweight fighter.
Coaches led by Benjamin Musa and David Munuhe will make a final decision on who will be on the trip to Senegal at the end of the week.