•Kenyan pugilists will compete in the Senegalese capital from September 9-15 for a chance to punch Olympic tickets.
•Mugunde said they gleaned some critical lessons that will prove invaluable during the qualification process.
Hit Squad captain Boniface Mugunde has vowed to rally his teammates for a successful Olympic qualification campaign in Dakar, Senegal next week.
Mugunde spoke after 12 Kenyan boxers concluded a 10-day benchmarking camp in Havana, Cuba on Monday.
Kenyan pugilists will compete in the Senegalese capital from September 9-15 for a chance to punch Olympic tickets. “We are not only confident of performing well in Senegal but also qualifying for the Olympics,” Mugunde remarked.
Mugunde said they gleaned some critical lessons that will prove invaluable during the qualification process.
“We learned more about skills because that’s what Cuban boxing coaches place a lot of emphasis on. We were encouraged to dance around our opponents in the ring. In Cuba, even the punching bags are made to move,” he said.
He challenged his teammates to prove their mettle in the qualifiers by applying what they had learned in Cuba.
“We shall transfer the skills we learned in Cuba into our next assignment at the Africa Olympic qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal. The qualifiers will be our biggest exam yet."
Seven male boxers along with 11 of their female counterparts across six weight categories will secure spots for the Games.
Mugunde said, that unlike Russian boxers, who prefer to employ a lot of power in their play, Cuban boxers are technically oriented.
He said the Cuban coaches were impressed by our conduct in their country. We maintained a high level of discipline throughout our 10-day stay,” Mugunde said.
Assistant captain Elizabeth Andiego echoed Mugunde’s sentiments, saying she is confident they have sharpened their talons well enough for the task ahead.
“We thank the government and BFK for facilitating our trip to Cuba. The experience we acquired over the last ten days will help us a lot during our qualifiers,” Andiego said.
“We have learned some footwork and the importance of being flexible and light on our feet. We also gained knowledge on using our reflexes to avoid punches.
“The team is prepared and we are ready to put our best foot forward. The morale is high and we will do our best to book slots for the next year’s Olympics.
On his part, head coach Benjamin Musa said he believes the Cuban trip will inspire his charges to new heights. “We have come to the end of our 10-day training camp in Cuba and we have benefitted immensely,” Musa said.
“We have learned both technical and tactical aspects of the sport and we hope our boxers will use the lessons to their advantage in our first Olympics qualifications campaign that begins next week in Senegal.
Musa expressed confidence that the trip would inspire them to victory and enable them to qualify for the upcoming Olympics.