As part of their build up to the forthcoming 2016 Rio Olympics boxing qualifiers to be held in Azerbaijan, four Ugandan boxers left yesterday afternoon for a trial tournament in the Netherlands.
The Netherlands tournament which starts on 13th May will go on for about a week. Most of the participants have already qualified for the Olympic Games.
Atanas Mugerwa, Sula Ssegawa, Nasser Bukenya and Willy Kyakonye are the boxers who made the journey. Kyakonye was aboard a KLM flight whereas the other three all used Qatar Airways. They are all expected in Netherlands at the same time before weigh-in for the tournament.
For some days, Uganda Amateur Boxing Federation has been looking for money to facilitate five boxers. However they could only get sponsors for four boxers which the federation’s publicity secretary says that it is a recommendable number.
“We have tried to get funding but it hasn’t been so easy but finally the four boxers got sponsors. Though we wanted more numbers in trials in Netherlands but let us go with that because even that is recommendable,” said Kavuma.
He added that they expect a good performance from the team which left using their experience from the Cameroon qualifying campaign.
“We hope for a stiff competition from our boxers. They will use the experience they earned in Cameroon during the qualifiers for Olympics. Though some came up short during qualification, I think it was a learning experience that they can use,” added Kavuma.
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Uganda has only qualified two boxers so far to the Rio Olympics – Kennedy Katende and Ronald Sserugo. However again the federation is targeting more numbers of boxers qualifying in order to increase the chances of winning medals in this year’s Olympics games to be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August.
Boxers didn’t go with their coach but the federation says that the newly appointed national boxing team coach Sam Rukundo will connect from Sweden, where he is currently based, to Netherlands and they are confident his arrival on the ring-side will hugely boost the morale of the boxers to perform.