ZAMBIAN athletes will be ready for battle at the forth-coming London 2012 Olympic Games running from July 27 to August 12 after a final reconditioning training camp in Scotland, the National Olympic Committee (NOC) has said.
And the Zambia Amateur Boxing Federation (ZABF) believes light-welterweight, Gilbert Choombe has the ability of winning the first Olympic boxing medal for the nation since Keith 'Spinks' Mwila's historic achievement in 1984.
NOC secretary general, Hazel Kennedy said the Scotland training camp would help the six athletes be mentally and physically prepared for the London Games challenges.
Kennedy said in an interview in Lusaka yesterday that the final tune-up would ensure all the athletes were in good health and also fit to compete with other competitors from over 200 countries.
"The Scotland outing will help in conditioning and ensuring our athletes are fit for performance at the Olympics.
The athletes need to be in good health, fit and mentally prepared for the Games," she said.
Despite Zambia fielding a small contingent, Kennedy said it was comforting that the nation was sending a team of mostly athletes who qualified to the London Games saying in the past, Zambia had been sending a bulk of wild card entries to fight for honours against qualified athletes at the Olympics.
Kennedy said Zambia was taking some of the good athletes to the Games like short distance runner, Gerald Phiri, who has competed before against world champion Usain Bolt, and was heading to London with a good personal best time.
The NOC secretary general said it would be a bonus if Phiri, whose personal best time is not closer to that of Bolts, could reach the Olympics finals.
She said the good thing about athletics and swimming was that they were measurable sport disciplines and that it was easy to follow the athletes' progress.
Apart from Phiri, other runners are Prince Mumba and women wild card entry, Chaoness Choosha, a 600 meter runner, swimming is represented by the pair of Zane Jordan and Jade Howard, Choombe is taking part in boxing, while Boas Munyonga is competing in Judo.
The other athlete Tony Wamulwa was dropped from the Olympics squad a day before the team travelled to Scotland on July 9 following a road traffic accident he was involved in on the Great North road.
And Choosha's coach, Felix Mbuye has expressed confidence the runner will put a good performance at the London Olympic games that starts in two weeks.
He was confident Choosha would perform well but that he was not promising any medal from her at this year's Olympics.
Mbuye said in an interview in Lusaka that Choosha who is scheduled to travel to Scotland today to join other Zambian athletes in camp there, was going to the Olympics as a guest runner, because she did not qualify adding that it would be good if Choosha could beat her own record.
"Everything is okay according to the training I gave her. I think she is excellent, but I am not promising any medal from the Olympics as she is going there as a guest runner because she did not qualify. She is supposed to leave for Scotland tomorrow (today) for intensive training," Mbuye said.
Meanwhile, ZABF president, Thomas Chileshe said in an interview from Kitwe yesterday that Choombe had made steady progress in Cardiff, Scotland where he was shaping up for the London Games, after a nervous start to his camping, adding the boxer had acclimatised and was focused on the upcoming games.
He said he had been in touch with boxing coach, Elias Kataya in Cardiff who assured him that Choombe had improved his ring craftiness.
Chileshe said Choombe's accuracy, determination and speed could win Zambia the first boxing medal in 28 years, but emphasised that the Maamba pugilist's opening bout would determine his progression at the Games.