Botswana: Tokyo 2020 - Boxers Lack Fitness

Boxing Coach Master Lechedzani Luza has expressed uneasiness with the state of two boxers Keamogetswe Kenosi (55KG) and Rajab Mohammed (52KG) who are set to represent Botswana at the upcoming Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Master Luza said he is hopeful that they will at least make top 8 but that anything higher than that is being a little bit ambitious.

"There is match fitness and physical fitness and the athletes have the latter while they are lacking in terms of the former," he said, explaining that this is due to a lack of competition prior to the Olympics as a result of Covid constraints. Master Luza further said they have only been training locally and this is not enough for the athletes to compete on an international platform as evidenced by their performance in Serbia end of May. The two athletes who were unreachable at the time this publication went to print, under-performed, a noticeable drop in their usual performance over the years as noted by their coach.

Beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, Master Luza believes that Botswana and Africa in general are not as fit as the athletes in first world countries due to mostly financial constraints and difficulties in travel patterns. "In Asia or Europe training and competitions in the next town or country are as easy as getting on the next train and connecting cities, however there is a lot of administration that goes into competitions this side even if it's just transitioning between one country to another within the same continent," he added.

The only hope for a boost is a possible international training camp scheduled for the first week of July in Russia. "We hope the camp materializes more so that we have had a few competitions in Poland and Sweden among others cancelled as well as India due to the outbreak of a new covid variant and rising numbers," Luza added. There are no prospects of more athletes qualifying and the two athletes will only be accompanied by sparring partners.

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