Sport competitions are much more essential than the physical action that fans watch on the field of play, because sports is all about friendship, understanding and respect for rules, improvement of athletes’ health, self-confidence, the provision of role models and the enhancement of peaceful co-existence amongst individuals and nations globally where peace is lacking.
These were the words of the Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture John Mutorwa in his opening remarks at the 2nd AIBA African Olympic Games qualifying tournament at the University of Namibia Gymnasium in Windhoek on Monday.
Mutorwa extended a word of gratitude to the International Boxing Association (AIBA) for having chosen Namibia to host the final leg of the AIBA Olympic qualifiers for the African continent, at a time when Namibia was celebrating her 18th year of political independence and freedom.
“This is a process in which many, if not all participating nations in this tournament directly or indirectly, contributed to, since Namibia’s independence was largely achieved through national sacrifice and also through international solidarity and support – thus the hosting of this tournament is for Namibia and particularly its boxing federation an honour but also a duty and obligation,” said the minister.
Day two of the 10-day competition saw Namibia’s Olympic hopeful Simon Johannes punching his way through to the next round of the competition with a convincing victory over Cameroonian boxer Nyolo Nyebe Denis in the flyweight division, in front of an enthusiastic crowd at the Unam Gymnasium yesterday.
Immanuel Naindjala can consider himself seriously unlucky after narrowly losing to Kenyan Nicholas Okongo Okoth in a closely contested featherweight bout.
Namibia’s woes continued with bantamweight boxer Norbert Ashivuthi finding the going extremely tough against the hard-hitting Emiliani Polino from Tanzania – going down by 15 points to 10 after completion of round four.
On day one, Namibian boxers did not fare better either and found themselves on the receiving end with Titus Joseph dismally losing his light welterweight bout against Chimwemwe Chiotcha from Malawi.
The Namibian was hopelessly out of his depth and unwillingly visited mother gravity as early as the first round, and the attraction of the canvas must have taken the better of Joseph who soon found himself on his back after his Malawian counterpart unleashed a combination of punches.
Chiotcha floored Joseph with a well-measured right hook in round one and the Namibian boxer never recovered, and by the time he came to his senses the fight was over.
Mejandjae Kasuto restored Namibia’s pride by convincingly beating the hell out of his opponent Scoth Eguabor from Nigeria in the four-round welterweight bout, after the Namibian had taken a 3-points lead at the end of round one – setting him on course for a runaway victory of 13 – 1, earning himself a place in the next round.
In the last bout, Walter Kautondokwa failed to return the compliment as the Namibian went down on points against Ekele Danuloko from Nigeria in the middleweight division.
Meanwhile, the Namibian boxing contingent were relocated to the Safari Court Hotel south of Windhoek, barely 24 hours before the curtain opened for the ongoing 2nd AIBA African Olympic Games qualifying tournament in Windhoek.
However, the dust just refuses to settle with boxers still grumbling about their pittance daily allowance and inadequate transport, amongst an assortment of grievances which have fallen on deaf ears.