Coach Kwasi Ofori Asare -- His boxers failed to book Olympic tickets at qualifying events in Senegal, Italy and Thailand
Coach Kwasi Ofori Asare -- His boxers failed to book Olympic tickets at qualifying events in Senegal, Italy and Thailand
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End of an era: Ghana's boxing streak ends with Paris Olympics setback

For the first time in 20 years, Ghana will not have a representative in boxing at the upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris  after Ghana's boxers failed to secure slots at the world qualifying competition in Bangkok, Thailand.

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Last Saturday, Ghana's hope was dashed as Ornella Sathoud lost by unanimous decision to Colombia’s Shierleids Orozco at the Indoor Arena of the Huamark Stadium in Bangkok. She was bidding to become the first Ghanaian female boxer to participate in the Olympics.

Qualifiers setback

Earlier, six Ghanaian male boxers were unable to progress to the quarter-final stage of the final world qualifying competition, having also fallen short at previous qualifiers in Senegal and Italy.

These setbacks mean that Ghana will not have any boxer at the Paris Games, set to begin in July.

Ghana entered the tournament with seven boxers—six men and one woman—among 579 competitors from 133 nations, all competing for 51 qualification slots. However, Amadu Mohammed (Featherweight), Henry Malm (Light-Middleweight), Jonathan Tetteh (Heavyweight), Mark Kojovi Ahondjo (Super-Heavyweight), Theophilus Kpakpo Allotey, and Joseph Commey (Featherweight) did not advance past the quarter-final stage.

Ironically, most of the boxers who competed in Bangkok also fought as professionals in the Ghana Professional Boxing League, bringing significant experience to the ring.

The last time Ghana failed to qualify a boxer for the Olympics was in Athens 2004.

In 2016, Ghana initially failed to qualify a boxer for Rio, but luck intervened when bantamweight Abdul Omar received an unused Olympic spot as the next highest-ranked boxer at the 2016 African Boxing Olympic Qualification Tournament.

This opportunity arose because Morocco’s Mohamed Hamout chose to accept his place in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) rankings instead.

Imminent changes with the Black Bombers returning to Ghana today, the team faces an uncertain future, including the position of head trainer Kwesi Ofori Asare. This failure marks a major setback for amateur boxing in Ghana, which had been a beacon of hope at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics when Samuel Takyi won a bronze medal, ending Ghana's medal drought dating back to the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.

Takyi, the only African boxer to win a medal in Tokyo, was initially part of the team for the Bangkok qualifiers until he made a last-minute decision to turn professional.

Needless to say, the Black Bombers have been riding their luck since the qualifiers began at the beginning of the year. Poor performances in Senegal and Italy pointed at deeper issues within the team.

Despite a brief moment of success in Accra when some team members won medals at the African Games at the Bukom Boxing Arena, the warning signs were evident at the 13th African Games (Accra 2023), where several top boxers from the continent were absent.

The current situation is likely to prompt calls for significant changes in the management of the sport and the Black Bombers, with demands for a dissolution of the team and a shake-up of the technical staff looming.

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