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Boxing team step up training to seek Tokyo Olympic spot

NATIONAL amateur boxing team has stepped up training at the National Indoor Stadium in Dar es Salaam, seeking the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games qualification marks.

The provisional squad comprising eight fighters is due to compete in two qualifiers events, the first being continental and world qualifiers.

Recently, the Olympic Boxing Task Force confirmed the names of the cities to host the five Qualification Events to be held on the Boxing Road to Tokyo 2020.

Four Continental Events and a final World Qualification Event will be held between February and May 2020 to give boxers the opportunity to seal their places at the Tokyo 2020 boxing tournament.

The world qualification events will give athletes a second chance to qualify and will therefore be open only to those boxers who have not yet qualified for the Games.

“The qualification events represent a fair and transparent pathway to the Olympic Games with equal opportunities for all National Olympic Committees,” said Boxing Task Force Chair and IOC Member Morinari Watanabe.

“Everything is being done to provide world-class qualification events and to ensure the best possible conditions for the athletes,” he said.

And, the Boxing Federation of Tanzania (BFT) has responded well to the opportunity, selecting a provisional squad of eight boxers, who are attending intensive drills at the Indoor Stadium five times a week.

BFT Secretary General, Lukelo Willilo said yesterday that the team is under Head Coach, David Yombayomba whereas his team consist seven men boxers and one female boxer although the team expects to have an additional of one female boxer on Monday, according to Willilo.

He named the men boxers as Haruna Mhando, Yusuf Changarawe, Alex Isendi, Ezra Paul, Alex Sita, Mlingwa Kaji and George Constantino. The only female boxer in camp is Zulfa Yusuf.

The camp begun last November, in which the boxers have been training for five days a week from Monday to Friday.

According the Willilo, the team will be trimmed to get the quality boxers, who will compete in the continental qualification event to be staged in Dakar, Senegal on February 20 to 29, 2020.

He said, for representatives who will not qualify in continental stage they will meet in Paris, France for another pathway to qualification from May 13 to 24, 2020.

Willilo added that before taking to the African qualifying event, they expect to participate in the East African competition to gauge the performance and quality of the team.

While the total number of athletes (286) has been maintained from Rio 2016, the number of female boxers has been tripled for Tokyo 2020 in a major boost toward gender equality and in keeping with the enhanced quality and popularity of female boxing.

The Tokyo tournament will feature 186 men and 100 women (compared to 250 men and 36 women in Rio)

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Mwandishi: ELKANA KUHENGA

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