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Nigerian Boxers Need A Miracle At Rio 2016 – Obisia

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Nigeria need a miracle to win a medal in the boxing event of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, says Obisia Nwankpa.

Nigeria have endured a torrid time since David David Izonritei and Richard Igbineghu won silver each at the Barcelona ’92 Olympic Games, with Duncan Dokiwari winning the last medal (bronze) for the country at the Atlanta ’96 Olympics.

Nojim Maiyegun won Nigeria’s first boxing medal (bronze) at the Tokyo ’64 Olympics, with Isaac Ikhouria winning the country’s second bronze at Munich ’72. Peter Konyegwachie won Nigeria’s first silver at the Los Angeles ’84 Olympic Games.

After winning three silver and one bronze at the Maputo 2011 All Africa Games in Mozambique, Nigeria exceeded all expectations by winning four golds and two silver at the recently-concluded Brazzaville 2015 All Africa Games in Congo.

The team are currently preparing for the Olympic qualifiers and former national boxing coach Obisia is backing the country to pick up some slots. The (African) Olympic qualifiers will take place in Yaoundé, Cameroon in March next year.

But the 1973 All Africa Games and 1974 Commonwealth Games gold medallist does not believe Nigeria can pick themselves out of the pack of also-rans in at Rio 2016, insisting they are not serious about winning an Olympic medal.

Obisia hailed the efforts of the national team at the Brazzaville 2015 All Africa Games, saying the boxers and their coaches deserved a lot of credit for Nigeria placing second behind Algeria in the competition.

“We always rely on miracles to win medals at major competitions. I think we need a miracle to win a medal in boxing in Rio,” the retired southpaw boxer, who defeated Derek McKenzie to win the Commonwealth welterweight title on November 11, 1980, told our correspondent on the telephone on Monday.

“I’m happy we won four golds at the All Africa Games. I think we are back. The boxers and their coaches did very well and we should praise them.

“I don’t think we can win medals at the Rio 2016 Olympics. We have some of the best boxers and coaches in Africa.

“We can rule world boxing if we are serious. Unfortunately we have never taken preparations for major competitions seriously. We are a miracle-believing country.”

Obisia maintains Nigeria are far behind schedule in the preparations for the Olympics, lamenting the country’s failure to compete at the AIBA World Amateur Boxing Championships in Doha, Qatar from 5 to 18 October.

Algeria, Ghana, Uganda, Egypt, Kenya, Morocco and Tunisia participated in the 73-nation championship.

He said, “The Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games take place every four years. While other countries begin their preparations for the Olympics immediately they return home from one, we only train for two or three months.

“We can’t win medals at the Olympics without taking part in the AIBA World Championships and other major boxing tournaments.

“Such competitions give a boxer an opportunity to study his opponents. They also help a boxer to keep abreast of the latest developments in the game.

“We lack training equipment and the administration of the sport in the country is very bad.”

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