ZIMBABWEAN boxers' hopes of qualifying for the Olympics were shattered at the ongoing qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal, after they failed to pull through to the semi-finals.
They lost their matches on Tuesday evening.
Brendon Denes, Ndabezinhle Phiri and Freeman Mabvongwe were among the fighters from different African countries at the event running until Saturday who were hoping to make the grade for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.
They got their mission off on a promising note, with Denes (lightweight) and Phiri (flyweight), reaching the quarter-finals.
But, they both went down when it mattered the most. Denes and Phiri lost on points, with the former losing to Fiston Mulumba Ambaya of the Democratic Republic of Congo while Phiri was defeated by Ghana's Tetteh Sulemanu.
Only the top three boxers in each weight division qualify for the Olympic Games -- those that reach the final and the best loser in the semi-final. Mabvongwe lost in the preliminaries to Moshoeshoe Mokhachane of Lesotho in the welterweight division.
The team was led by coach, Alexander Kwangwari, and his assistant Steven Masiyambumbi.
Masiyambumbi commended the fighters for their efforts despite failing to qualify.
Masiyambumbi believes if they can get sponsors to go to France in May for the world qualifying tournament they have a chance to seal a spot at the Games.