Sascoc puts R1.3 m into the amateur boxing ring

2012-04-07 18:23

The South African Sports Confederation (Sascoc) has invested more than R1.3 million in the Boxing Talent Search Road Show that started in September 2009.

The project was borne out of South Africa’s dismal performance in boxing where only one boxer – Jackson Chauke – qualified for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

He was eliminated in the first round of the flyweight event.

The project, part of Sascoc president Gideon Sam’s dream of 12 medals at the London 2012 Olympic Games, has so far yielded nine male and three female boxers who will soon be going through their final qualifiers.

The male contenders are Gift Pilane (49kg), Ludumo Lamati (52kg), Ayabonga Sonjica (56kg), Sinethemba Bam (60kg), Tulani Mbenge (64kg), Siphiwe Lusizi (69kg), Renson Hobwana (75kg), Akani Phuzi (91kg) and Paul Schafer (91+kg).

The three female boxers are: Andi du Plessis (51kg), Thobile Khumalo (60kg) and Claudia Heijns (75 kg).

The men’s squad will travel to Morocco on April 25 for the Olympic qualifiers that starts on the 27th and will run to May 6.

The three female boxers have been registered for their qualifier that takes place in China on May 9-19. They will travel three days prior to the tournament.

So well has the project gone that this week, Sam predicted at least three boxing medals from the Olympics in July.

“I have given the trainers a mandate that at least five male and all three remaining female boxers must qualify for the Games,” he told City Press confidently.

“If we can have eight boxers at the Olympics, I am sure we can at least bring home three medals from the sport which would be a first.”

The initial talent search was held in all nine provinces in 2008 with some provinces hosting two events to cater for the geographic spread of the areas.

The main structures involved in the programme were the South African National Boxing Organisation (Sanabo) affiliates, Provincial Academies of Sport, Provincial Departments of Sport and Recreation and the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

The roadshows were advertised in the various areas through fliers and local media.

A total of 107 boxers, 29 of whom were women, were selected at the end of the programme. They all underwent compulsory medical assessment.

The boxers who qualify for the Games, will return to the training centre.

The 12 boxers took part at the Gauteng Invitational Tournament in Pretoria last Saturday. This was their last local competition before they depart for their respective Olympic qualifiers.

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