The president of the Ghana Boxing Federation (GBF), Bernard Quartey, says 26-year-old 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games quarter-finalist, Samuel Yaw Addo, is a sure bet for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games which starts from July 28 to August 8, 2022.
The bantamweight boxer’s participation in the Games was embroiled in controversy after he was sneaked in at the last minute to replace the already short-listed Theophilus Kpakpo Allotey.
However, supporters of the 20-year-old Allotey, led by former world champion Joseph Agbeko, have cried foul, saying their decision hinged on the integrity of the GBF and the national amateur boxing team, Black Bombers.
They alleged that young Allotey had been unfairly treated, vowing to ensure justice for him, but in a sharp rebuttal, Mr Quartey insisted that the selection of boxers into the Black Bombers went beyond winning an individual championship, tournament or any other qualifying competition.
“We are looking at experience, who has been there before, who can attract a better seeding by game officials to enable us to get a favourable place to get a medal, and conduct,” he told Graphic Sports in an exclusive interview in Accra last Thursday.
He explained that over the past 16 years selection into the Black Bombers for international competitions had been fraught with corruption, bias and influence peddling, hence the need to sanitise the process.
“These menace and canker became more pronounced under the current lead trainer, Coach Kwasi Ofori Asare, who always selected boxers from his gym into the national team,” he noted.
According to him, following complaints from other gyms against Coach Asare’s conduct, he warned him to stay away from referees and judges during this year’s individual championship held at the Bukom Boxing Arena early this year, which was the platform used in selecting boxers into the Black Bombers.
“As you all could witness, there was so much chaos with Coach Asare’s boxer Theophilus Kpakpo Allotey, who lost against one Adamu and refused to accept defeat and so a melee ensued,” he recalled.
Mr Quartey said subsequently other boxers from Coach Asare’s gym, Wahid Omar and Abubakari Quartey, who also lost in the said tournament, were still selected by the Bombers coach.
“I, therefore, decided to take measures to ensure that he doesn’t flood the Black Bombers with his fighters again, so we selected the much experienced Yaw Addo who has a proven track record to satisfy the other side and gyms,” he pointed out.
Mr Quartey added that as a former amateur boxer, boxing trainer and manager, he also had the technical know-how to decipher which boxer could perform well on the international stage.
“Kpakpo Allotey is a novice and lacks the needed experience; we are going to win a medal and not for trials so he should be patient and his time will come,” he further explained.
He disclosed that the GBF had still put the name of Allotey forward to the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC), the body in charge of Ghana’s contingent, for consideration and, therefore, hoped for a better outcome.
“We are working for the national interest, not any individual or group interest because the nation is bigger than everyone,” he emphasised.