HIT SQUAD GEARS UP

We are sharpening our teeth for Tokyo, says coach Musa

Asked to explain why he called up 12 boxers into camp when only four are required to travel to Tokyo, Musa said the idea was to widen the scope of experience and knowledge.

In Summary

•Musa said they still require at least two more tournaments to be assured of adequate preparations.

•“As tutors, Although we only managed a single gold medal, we were satisfied with the general performance exhibited by our boxers, and especially the four that are Tokyo Olympics bound,” he added.

Cosby Ouma and coach Musa Benjamin
Cosby Ouma and coach Musa Benjamin
Image: FILE

Kenya national boxing team ‘Hit Squad' head coach Benjamin Musa is convinced they gathered adequate experience at the Africa Zone 3 championship to enable them compete effectively at the Tokyo Olympics.

Musa said the entire concept behind the event was to sharpen African boxers well enough for a podium finish.

“Personally, I think the competition was of utmost importance. We had gone without participating in active bouts for almost a year and a month.

“There is no single competition where you can sit out inactive for such a long time and still expect to perform well. Our main objective wasn't scooping medals.

“We were mainly interested in individual and overall team performance. We were keen to use the event to gauge just how far our boxers were in terms of fitness, competition and what exactly we should rectify,” said Musa.

“So in Kinshasa, we decided as the organising committee to adapt a round robin format where each boxer would have an opportunity to battle at least three opponents.

Musa disclosed they sat down as the organising committee and deliberately decided to give each of the participants more competitive bouts so that they could shake off the rust.

“That gave them an opportunity to come up against three different techniques because, perhaps, it would be long again before we got another chance to try them out. Most probably, that's the only competition we had left before heading out to Tokyo,” said Musa.

“As tutors, although we only managed a single gold medal,  we were satisfied with the general performance exhibited by our boxers, and especially the four that are Tokyo Olympics-bound,” he added.

Asked to explain why he called up 12 boxers into camp when only four are required to travel to Tokyo, Musa said the idea was to widen the scope of experience and knowledge.

“There is no way the four boxers would practice all alone. They needed sparring partners who can offer the same level of competition and who are in similar weight categories,” he said.

“For example, we have boxers who are south pole and others with far much better techniques who didn't qualify but can still prove worthy opponents to the quartet.

“We have ensured at least each of them has two sparring partners,” he added.

“Moreover, we have other events coming up after the Tokyo Olympics such as the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham next year, and chances are that we shall be using the same boxers. That's why it is still important to continue having all of them in camp.

“If they perform well and prove themselves at the trials prior to the event, then why not, we shall be willing to raise their standards even further,” said Benjamin.

Musa said they still require at least two more tournaments to be assured of adequate preparations.

“Every competition calls for consistent participation in games for a player to perform well. Obviously, Covid-19 was a setback given our boxers never got to be actively involved in league matches that could have given them an extra edge,” he concluded.