Kampala- Patrick Lihanda, the national boxing coach believes the Bombers are in better shape now than they were three weeks ago when they camped in his Luzira Prison and are ready for the African Olympic Qualifiers in Dakar, Senegal next week.
Twenty six boxers [men and women] and eight coaches have resided behind the prison walls for the last three weeks, but only 13 [eight men, five women] had already qualified for the Dakar challenge, while the other 13 were sparring partners.
“Well, we are in the final touches of the preparations…the time has been short but we’ve really made great improvement among all boxers,” Lihanda told us on phone 6.00am yesterday.
“In boxing you can’t surely tell who the winner will be but I expect a decent performance in Dakar.”
Lihanda didn’t quantify that decent performance. But it could mean sending more athletes to the Tokyo Olympics than Uganda sent to Rio de Janeiro.
In 2016, Uganda sent 10 boxers to the Olympic Qualifiers in Yaoundé, Cameroon, but only the Sweden-based pair of Ronald Serugo and Kennedy Katende qualified for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Both booked their tickets through the third-place box-off after losing semifinals.
In six of the men’s eight weight categories only the top three will boxers will qualify for Tokyo. In the heavyweight and super heavyweight, only the top two shall qualify.
Lihanda, an Olympian in Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988, also rooted for the lady Bombers.
Featherweight Susan Akello and the other four ladies bound for Dakar are debutants on the continent and a tournament of this calibre will doubtless be a mountainous task.
“Yes all the ladies have never been to a continental event but I believe some can make it.”
DUE TO DAKAR
Disan Mubiru (52kg)
Yasin Adinan (63kg)
Musa Shadir (69kg)
David Ssemuju (75kg)
Joshua Male (81kg)
Alex Bwambale (91kg)
Solomon Geko (+91kg)
Catherine Nanziri (51kg)
Emilly Nakalema (69kg)
Suzan Akelo (57kg)
Rebecca Amongin (60kg)
Doreen Nassali (75kg)