By Carlos Kambaekwa
The usually sleepy southern capital Keetmanshoop will come to life this week with a significant number of appetizing boxing bouts on show when the National Senior Boxing Championships gets under way at the W.K. Rover Hall this morning.
More than 200 boxers and officials from all 13 regions and associate members are expected to converge on Keetmanshoop for the three-day boxing bonanza.
Besides the thirteen regions, the Namibian Amateur Boxing Association has extended a hand of goodwill by allowing its associate members to take part in the national championships.
The associate members are the Namibian Police, National Defence Force and the Osire Boxing Club made up of refugees.
Eleven boxers from different weight categories are to be chosen after completion of the three-day tournament to represent Namibia at the Olympic Qualifiers for Africa.
Local boxing sensation Japhet Uutoni will lead a strong five-member boxing contingent to the first Olympic Qualifiers for Africa to be hosted by Algeria, Algiers from the 27th of January to the first of February 2008.
Apart from Uutoni, boxers Julius Indongo, Johannes Simon, Tobias Munihango and Desmond Kasuto are expected to make up the Namibian contingent to the north African country.
Namibia will be hosting the second and last Olympic Qualifiers for the African continent from the 23rd of March until April Fool’s day next year.
Meanwhile, the Secretary-General of the Namibian Amateur Boxing Association Joe Kaperu said the eleven boxers to be selected for the Olympic Qualifiers for Africa will report for an extensive training camp a week after this weekend’s tournament and will only be released for a four-day Christmas break and will have to return for camp until the 20th of January 2008.
There are altogether 33 places up for grabs in different weight categories for Africa at the Beijing Olympics in August 2008, and the usually reliable Namibian boxers have vowed to maximize their home ground advantage in the qualifiers and carved themselves places on the flight to Beijing, come next year.