BEIJING 2008 OLYMPICS: Two boxing qualifiers at stake

TANZANIA will now participate in two qualifiers for the Beijing 2008 Olympics after missing out on the World Boxing Championships that came to a close in Chicago, USA early this month, Boxing Federation of Tanzania (BFT) has revealed.

BFT secretary general Gaston Mlay said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the national amateur boxing team has two qualifiers in Algeria and Namibia early next year.

’’The first qualifiers will be held in Algiers from January 22-February 3 in which winners of gold, silver and bronze medals will assure themselves of participation in the Beijing 2008 Olympics,’’ he said.

’’The second qualifiers are set for Windhoek from March 23-April 2, which will be aiming at selecting gold and silver medalists in some of the weight categories,’’ he added.

Mlay said the international amateur boxing federation, AIBA, has prepared qualifiers for each of its members — America, Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania — in which each continent will host two qualifiers. Each will in the end select 60 boxers who will compete in the Olympic Games.

’’The Algeria qualifiers turn out to be the most important event for Tanzania and BFT will do our best to ensure the national team participates in the competition,’’ he said.

He, however, said BFT has yet to confirm Tanzania’s participation in the two qualifiers to the Africa amateur boxing federation, AFBC, because they have no funds to meet the team’s preparations and travel costs.

The federation needs 232, 561,000/- to meet the team’s preparations for and participation in the tournament, he noted.

Mlay has appealed to well wishers to support the team so the boxers can compete in the two qualifiers.

The federation has selected 26 boxers in different weight categories from 48kg (light-fly) to 91kg (super-heavy), who have started training at JKT Mgulani under head coach Willy Isangula and his assistants Nassor Michael, Benjamin Mwangata and Anthony Kameda.

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