By ADRIAN MWANZA –
THE National Olympics Committee (NOC) has called on Zambian boxers in Baku, Azerbaijan, to take preparations for the Olympics qualifier seriously as the nation was expecting a lot from them.
Two Zambian boxers in Bantamweight Emmanuel Ngoma and Middleweight Ben Muziyo are taking part in the last qualifying round for the Olympic Games at a tournament in Baku.
They are currently training in Italy for the last chance salon.
NOC president Miriam Moyo said a lot was being invested in the boxers and they needed to repay the investment and faith placed in them by making sure they qualify for the Olympics.
She said NOC was pumping huge amounts of money to ensure that the boxers have an opportunity to take part in the Olympics.
“These guys are currently camped in Italy where they are training with the Italian national team which is going to represent their country at the games. This shows you the seriousness we have attached to this programme,” she said.
Moyo said NOC had taken the necessary steps to ensure that the boxers did not miss out at the Olympics and now that everything was in place, it was up to the boxers to live up to the billing.
She said the number could have been bigger but that the NOC also had financial limitations and this led to just two boxers being given an opportunity for the last chance tournament in Eastern Europe but camping in mainland Europe.
With the NOC just able to sponsor two, it left the Zambia Boxing Federation (ZBF) and British coach Mick Driscoll to come up with two boxers they believe have the best chance of qualifying to the Olympics.
“The onus is on the boxers because we have broken our back to ensure that they do not miss out at the Olympics, so what is remaining is for them to win at the Baku games which are slated for June 7, to 19 this year,” she said.
And ZBF president Thomas Chileshe said he was confident that Muziyo and Ngoma would eventually qualify for the Olympics because they had learnt a lesson from the failed qualifying attempt in Cameroon.
He said the two boxers had what it takes to make the Olympics and that the current training in Italy would help them realise that dream.
Chileshe hailed the NOC for facilitating the Italy training camp because it was exposing the boxers to high level competition since they were training with top Italian coaches and boxers.
“I should commend NOC for sacrificing a lot of resources for the two boxers. The NOC are currently spending roughly 100 Euros a night just for accommodation,” he said.
He called on the boxers to be disciplined because they would be facing tough opponents compared to the ones they faced at the African qualifiers in Cameroon.