Kampala — Twenty six schools, 481 boxers (including 80 girls) are trading jabs and hooks and crosses at The National Schools Boxing Championship at the MTN Arena-Lugogo.
This is a tremendously huge turn-up compared to the two previous editions. Yet the number would have been even bigger but 101 students were disqualified from the tournament because they failed eligibility tests.
Dr Chris Mbowa, a member of the screening committee, said some were above the age limit of 18 years, according to their birth certificates, some had participated in bigger tournaments like the Cadets (which contravenes the tournament rules), some were not students or they couldn't prove they are.
"Yes, we want to promote education through boxing. But some students' records were ridiculous. Someone claims to be in Senior Two but claims one of the subjects he studies is Social Studies."
Another ridiculous case under investigation involves Clive College student who is alleged to have been in Senior Four in 2015. But a familiar parent claims his daughter, who was this boxer's classmate is now in her second year at university.
The most affected schools are Kampala Citizens College (16); Global Skills High (11); Kampala High (11), among others. Defending champions Bweyogerere had four disqualified.
To prove the fairness of the vetting committee, even Kololo High School, where the committee chairman Bruhan Ntambi comes from, had three boxers disqualified.