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Uganda sending only 3 bombers

By Vision Reporter

Added 20th March 2008 03:00 AM

UGANDA will have at least three boxers at the African Olympic qualifiers next week following an air-ticket offer from the National Council of Sports (NCS).

UGANDA will have at least three boxers at the African Olympic qualifiers next week following an air-ticket offer from the National Council of Sports (NCS).

By James Bakama

Olympic qualifier
Windhoek, Namibia
March 23-30

UGANDA will have at least three boxers at the African Olympic qualifiers next week following an air-ticket offer from the National Council of Sports (NCS).

A return air ticket to Windhoek costs $800 (sh1.37m) while full board accommodation will be at $40 (sh68, 800) a day.

NCS have offered sh2.5m to take an extra boxer, after a sh10m Pepsi-Cola boost that catered for the team’s training costs plus two tickets; one for a boxer and the coach, Cuban Jimenez Gonzalez.

“That’s what we can mobilise. Council is currently dry,” explained NCS general secretary Jasper Aligawesa.

US-based boxer Ismael Muwendo is the third boxer assured of travelling. His entire trip has been sponsored by his American coach Scott Tolzmann.

Uganda Amateur Boxing Federation (UABF) spokesman Charles Kizza said they are still looking for at least three more air-tickets, so that they can send a team of six. Coach Gonzalez will only name a team after all travel expenses have been sorted out.

Although Gonzalez was at first pessimistic about Uganda’s chances, he has changed his mind after training the team. He now rates at least eight boxers as capable of entering the medal brackets in Namibia.

The final 30 of Africa’s Olympic quota of 60 boxers will be selected in Windhoek.

Uganda has a rich Olympic boxing tradition and has won three silver and a bronze medal since the 1968 games.

Uganda was in the Athens 2004 Games’ build-up saved by philanthropist Michael Ezra. Ezra single-handedly funded the Bombers’ training and trips to qualifiers in Morocco and Botswana.

Five boxers qualified for the Athens Olympics.

UABF is headed by tycoon Roger Ddungu, who won the presidency on a popular promise that he would ensure the Bombers compete regularly in all major competitions. Ddungu believes the current crop of boxers cannot qualify for the Olympics.

* Super-heavyweight Robert Acea beat American Michael Hunter on Tuesday to cap off a dominating display by Cuban boxers at the Americas Olympic qualification tournament at Port of Spain, Trinidad with nine fighters earning tickets to Beijing.

The results marked a stunning return to the international ring by the powerhouse Cubans, who did not send a squad to Chicago for last year's world championships where the first Olympic qualifying spots were up for grabs, following a string of defections.

Of the 23 Olympic spots on offer at the Jean Pierre Complex, Cuban boxers claimed nine from 11 weight classes, Acea, the 2007 Pan Am Games champion, securing the last with a convincing 12-4 victory over Hunter in the 91+ kg gold medal bout.

Ecuador, Venezuela and the U.S. were next best with three apiece.

Acea will be joined in Beijing by team mates Andry Laffita Hernandez (51kg), Yankiel Leon Alarcon (51kg), Idel Torriente (57kg), Yordanis Ugas Hernandez (60kg), Roniel Iglesias Sotolongo (64kg), Carlos Banteaux Suarez (69kg), Emilio Correa Bayeux (75kg) and Osmai Acosta Duarte (91kg).

American Javier Molina, Sadam Ali and Deontay Wilder all secured berths, joining Luis Yanez, Rau'shee Warren, Gary Russell, Raynell Williams and Demetrius Andrade who had already got spots.

Uganda sending only 3 bombers

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