There is uncertainty among Ugandan boxers ahead of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics after the final global Boxing qualifiers were scrapped.
The development means that the remaining slots at this year’s Olympics will be determined by rankings.
Only Shadir Musa Bwogi is guaranteed of a ticket to Olympics due to Friday, 23 July 2021 in Tokyo having earning his place via the 2020 Africa Boxing Championship in Diamniadio, Senegal.
The Bombers captain is the only Ugandan out of the 13 boxers that fought in Senegal to have qualified, when he defeated Lartey Sessie of Ghana in a box-off fight by unanimous point decision.
In the cancelled Paris Qualifiers, Uganda was expected to take four members of Bombers team who reached the semis in Senegal – Emilly Nakalema, Catherine Nanziri, Isaac Masembe and David Ssemujju.
National team coach Patrick Lihanda says that Boxer Adnan Yasin was also going to be taken for the qualifiers.
Lihanda, added: “Cancellation of the Paris Qualifiers is a big blow for us. Very bad and saddening. But like the UBF President (Moses Muhangi) told us, we still have a chance to add on one slot we have in Shadir, and we are hopping for an extra participant.”
“I have been at the Olympics twice and I know how important it is to a boxer. You get a chance to meet the best from across the world. You have to be physically and mentally prepared.”
Following the cancellation of the Paris Qualifiers, only the highest ranked African boxer who had yet to qualify for Tokyo would get the Olympic quota.
In Senegal last year, Isaac Masembe lost to Ghanaian Takyi Samuel by split point decision and Female Boxer Nanziri Catherine lost to Kenyan Ongare Christine on unanimous point decision on Saturday. On Friday David Ssemujju Kavuma lost to Cameroonian Taye Ntsengue.
Which Ugandan Boxer Has The Chance To Get Olympic Quota?
The Boxing Tasking Force is set to use the rankings to determine the remaining 53 quotas (32 men, 21 women) that would been available at the Paris Qualifiers.
Much as the system will deprive Ugandan boxers of a chance to fight for a place at the Olympics, it is intended to give a chance to every region (Continent).
Per the recent rankings, Uganda’s hopes of adding more boxers are very much still alive.
Nanziri is ranked 12th in the world, and 4th in Africa in her Women’s 51kg (Flyweight) is set to get a nod. The top three in Africa – Rabab Cheddar (Morocco), Roumaysa Boulam (Algeria) and Christine Ongare (Kenya) all qualified to the Olympics, meaning that she holds the highest rank in her category for a boxer who has not qualified.
Nakalema (Welterweight, 69kg) has an outside chance as well after the top two of Oumayma Bel Ahbab (Morocco) and Acinda Helena Panguana (Mozambique) qualified and her luck will be tested against Kenya’s Elizabeth Akinyi.
In the Men’s 75kg, Joseph Ssemujju is ranked second, and will surely get his spot after the top seed of Younes Nemouchi from Algeria already got his ticket to Tokyo.
Isaac Masembe (57kg) has an outside chance but Mohammed Hamout who is ranked above him but finished at Quarter final in Senegal may be considered. Evensto Mulenga (Zambia) and Nicholas Okoth (Kenya) qualified through the category already.
There is still chance, there is still hope.