Olympic qualifiers: Rigorous criteria set for Black Bombers
The Head Trainer of Black Bombers, Kwasi Ofori Asare, has revealed that the 12 boxers who competed at the recent African Olympic qualifiers in Dakar will not have automatic places in the team to the world qualifiers next year, as the Ghana Boxing Federation puts in place an entirely merit-based selection process in an attempt to secure slots for the Paris Olympic Games.
Revealing the current training setup, Coach Asare said 30 amateur boxers were presently under his tutelage. These athletes are vigorously preparing for the upcoming qualifying competitions in Italy and Thailand. However, Coach Asare made it clear that no spots on the team were guaranteed, and each boxer must meet specific criteria for selection.
While the exact number of boxers heading to Italy and Thailand remained uncertain, Coach Asare emphasised the importance of justifying inclusion in the team. He mentioned the likelihood of "justifiers" being staged to identify the best-suited boxers for the task ahead, to ensure that only those who would meet the highest standards would represent Ghana.
"I don't know the numbers or figures of those who will go to Italy and Thailand yet, but you have to justify your inclusion if you want to be part of it; there will be justifiers to be staged to select the best," he told Graphic Sports in Accra.
He revealed that the team was currently in a non-residential training camp at the Accra Stadium where they would undergo sparring sessions and hitting of mitts, among other drills, as he sought to rectify some mistakes made by Ghana's 12-member team that failed to secure an Olympic slot at the recent African qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal.
"Most of the boxers we took there [Dakar] are first timers and they struggled with the basics, so we are currently honing their skills on that," he stated.
Coach Asare expressed optimism about the return of Olympic medallist Samuel Takyi to the national team in pursuit of his dream of qualifying for the Paris Games, the coach stated that the boxer was currently training hard and his performance had been top-notch.
"Takyi has done it before and he is a good boxer, we have so much hope in him," he said.