By Joseph Opio
HAVING watched the sport endure quite a battering at the All Africa Games, Ugandan boxing fans were supposed to seek redemption from the National Schools Boxing Championships last week.
Alas, they were denied the chance!
The tournament was mortally ambushed by mercenaries whose shameless entry ensured that the event suffered a much-publicised stillbirth.
The fact that only 16 out of the 300 boxers who turned up were adjudged to be legitimate students tells the grim tale.
Yet, whilst age-cheats are major irritants in Ugandan sport, the lot that dared turn up at Lugogo last Monday could have easily administered a fatal punch to a discipline currently clinging onto life-support.
Boxing has received columns of bad press post-Algiers and it goes without saying that rampant age-fraud was a charge the sport could happily have done without.
Nevertheless, it would be remiss to condemn an entire sporting fraternity for the selfish actions of a misguided few.
Credit should be heaped upon the organisers â€” and by extension, the boxing authorities â€” for taking the courageous decision to not only publicly smoke out the cheats but also cancel the tournament without regard to the bad press and sniggers of scorn that were bound to ensue.
Itâ€™s the sort of risky zero-tolerance stance that has become the norm at the Tour de France, and one that will benefit, rather than hurt, local boxing in the long-term.
Boxingâ€™s hard-nosed approach was brave