• At the time of the cancellation, the boxer from Kariobangi’s Box Girls Boxing Club had qualified for the final and termed missing out on the opportunity to play in her first such bout as ‘heart-wrenching’.
• She pointed out that, boxing being a contact sport, boxers will be uncomfortable to train normally for fears of contracting the disease.
Upcoming boxer Emily Juma has expressed her disappointment after the National Novice Boxing Championships in Thika were cancelled due to coronavirus.
At the time of the cancellation, the boxer from Kariobangi’s Box Girls Boxing Club had qualified for the final and termed missing out on the opportunity to play in her first such bout as ‘heart-wrenching’.
She said: “I was gutted the fight didn’t go ahead. I feel I am in the best shape physically and mentally than ever before. It is just one of those things but it was heart-wrenching it happened right at the last minute and we couldn’t do anything. Our health comes first and I think that was the best thing to do.”
Despite failing to step in the ring for the final bout, the 21-year-old, who had defeated Lencer Akinyi to book a final spot still qualified for Kenya Open.
“Even though I qualified for Kenya Open with my final qualification, it would have been good to come out victorious or knowing you lost in the last hurdle. However, that has happened and I need now to focus on the next event which is the Kenya Open. Here I expect to get some tough and experienced boxers and with that, I will need to work harder,” said Juma, who in February stunned her Nairobi counterpart Akinyi to win the 50kg category at Charter Hall.
The Chemi Chemi High and Mathare’s Undugu alumnus is worried that the situation with coronavirus will negatively affect her growth in the sport that she initially took up for fun.
She pointed out that, boxing being a contact sport, boxers will be uncomfortable to train normally for fears of contracting the disease.
“Cleanliness in a gym is very important since we are sweating and at times share equipment and this makes us vulnerable. That is why we need to be more careful with how we train,” she said.
With the government advising the public about the potential spread of the coronavirus, Juma, who trains at the Kariobangi Social Hall said she just wants her gym and its members to be ready to fight it.
“We want everyone to take all the necessary precautions here to stop the spread,” she said, adding that with the uncertainty on when the threat will end, the level of the sport could go down.
“To be ready for any bout, a boxer trains for at least twice a week for two months or so. So with this current situation, many boxers will not be training as much and thus the levels of the game could go down,” Juma said.