Why the Black Bombers failed in Senegal
About three weeks ago, Ghana’s amateur boxers, the Black Bombers, embarked on a journey to Dakar, Senegal to seek qualifications to the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris next year.
Ten days later, the contingent of 19 made up of 12 boxers including five female fighters, seven male pugilists and seven officials, arrived back in the country with none qualifying for the Olympics.
Connoisseurs of the game are least surprised about the inability of the team to get even a single qualification to the Olympics and the president of the Ghana Boxing Federation (GBF) the body that oversees amateur boxing in the country, Mr Bernard Quartey, is with them.
“Lack of investments in the sport over the years is now coming back to bite.This is a lesson if we continue to fail in investing in amateur boxing, the Olympics will always elude us,” he told the Graphic Business in an exclusive telephone interview.
Ghana got its first Olympic medal in 30 years at the last Olympics which took place in Tokyo two years ago courtesy, boxer Samuel Takyi who scooped bronze against all odds.
Now the only sport which brought pride and honour to the nation at the Olympics just two years ago is on the verge of not participating in next year’s Olympics and the country risks being submerged once again into the forgotten waters of global sports.
The Olympics is a quadrennial special sports competition. Like the football world cup, which it even towers over, it is a stage where countries display their prowess in sports, soft power in intelligence and the bragging rights of greatness and strength.
Ghana losing shine
Legendary boxers such as Azumah Nelson, Ike Quartey, Floyd Kotei Robertson and Alfred Kotey, all cut their teeth and gained global recognition while competing at the amateur level in international tournaments.
Hitherto, when it comes to boxing, Ghana placed second to none on the continent.
But the debacle in Dakar which saw Algerians, Moroccans, Nigerians, Cameroonians and Tanzanians battering us at will and our inability to respond in equal measure has made nonsense of that.
The country must accept that others have caught up and are moving beyond it. It must accept the situation and learn.
Regain the mojo
Stakeholders in the sport must recognize the need for a new paradigm shift. Boxing is no longer a strong man’s sport, there is less dependence on power and more reliance on agility, flexibility and tact.
Investments in the sport must be paramount. Mr Bernard Quartey complained about the lack of equipment and even a gymnasium to train amateur boxers.
The state must take up the task of constructing a boxing gymnasium for amateur boxers. The gymnasium at the Bukom Boxing Arena is not enough.
A more scientific approach towards the sports is needed. It is no longer easy to knock out a boxer in the ring as it is even more difficult to land clean shots at a boxer to get points.
The wait-till-the-event-approaches is longer feasible for Ghanaian boxers. Such must be discarded with and a proper planning and preparation must hold sway.
The sport is a lucrative one and can employ many a youth and help grow the economy. The state must act now.