By ADRIAN MWANZA –
BOXER Ben Muziyo sneaked in a wild card entry to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games despite his elimination at the ongoing World Boxing Championship in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Muziyo, a Commonwealth bronze medallist, was clobbered by Delgado Suarez Mario of Ecuador in a middleweight contest on Monday night during the championship that acted as last hope of qualifiers to the Olympic Games.
The Zambian trailed the entire three rounds and could not just match the Ecuadorian who was far much a better boxer compared to Muziyo but luckily has been put on a wildcard.
Bantamweight Emmanuel Ngoma, who was eliminated on Monday, will, however, not get any wildcard ticket leaving only Muziyo to represent Zambia at the Olympic Games in Brazil.
National Olympic Committee (NOC) secretary general Hazel Kennedy expressed disappointment with the boxer’s failure to automatically qualify for the Games.
Kennedy, however, expressed happiness that Muziyo has been handed a chance to redeem himself after he was offered a wildcard.
She said in an interview that the Zambian boxer’s loss was a blow because NOC had tried everything in its powers to ensure that the boxers qualified to the Olympic Games.
“It is painful and disappointing that both Ngoma and Muziyo were knocked out of the tournament which was the last qualifier. The Olympic qualifying rate is very disappointing and there is need to see how best our athletes can start qualifying in the various disciplines,” she said.
Muziyo joins runners Mupopo Kabange and Gerald Phiri, judokas Abigail Chindele and Mathews Punza including swimmers Jade Howard and Ralph Goveia, who have so far qualified for the Olympic Games.
Meanwhile, the Zambian relay team will be hoping to book a ticket to the Olympics with a good performance when the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA) 20th African Senior Championships starts today in South Africa.
Phiri, Brian Kasinda, Sydney Siame and Titus Kafunda make up the relay team with Hazemba Chindamba coming in as an able substitute.