NAIROBI, Kenya, March 15 – With close to Ksh 312 million at stake, 11 Kenyan boxers will be hoping to come back home with bulging pockets when they commence their campaign at the Women’s World Boxing Championships in New Delhi, India.
The opening ceremony for the continental showpiece is slated for Wednesday evening with everyone getting down to serious business the following day.
Apart from the incentive of being crowned a world champion in the 12 categories, the bumper prize money for the podium finishers ensures that competition will be cutthroat as all the pugilists scramble to get a piece of the ‘cake’.
Gold medal winners in each category will walk home approximately Ksh 13 million richer ($100,000) whereas silver medalists will be awarded Ksh 6.5 million ($50,000).
Third-place finishers will receive Ksh 3.2 million ($25,000) for all their troubles.
The 2018 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Christine Ongare will be the first in the ring for Kenya when she squares up to Tanzanian Rahma Maganga.
It will be the third time for Ongare to feature at the World Championships and will surely be hoping for a landmark moment such as when she qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
Other Hit Squad members who will be hoping to punch their way to millions include Elizabeth Andiego (light heavyweight) and Elizabeth Akinyi (middleweight).
For Andiego, the World Championships is a case of ‘been-there-done-that’ having competed at last year’s edition in Istanbul, Turkey where she lost 5-0 in the quarters to Turkey’s Elif Guneri.
Andiego, who is making her fourth appearance at the global tournament, is also the first-ever female boxer from East Africa to compete at the Olympics – specifically in London in 2012.
Along with other Kenyans, they will have to beat the best of the best in New Delhi including world and Olympic champion Estelle Mossely of France as well as last year’s winners, such as Beatriz Ferreira(Brazil), Lin Yu-Ting (Chinese Taipei), Ingrit Lorena Valencia Victoria (Colombia) and Imane Khelif (Algeria).
HIT SQUAD WOMEN CONTINGENT
1. Christine Ongare – Minimum weight
2. Ann Wanjiru – light flyweight
3. Veronica Mbithe – flyweight
4. Amina Martha – Bantamweight
5. Pauline Chege – featherweight
6. Stacy Ayoma – Lightweight
7. Teresia Wanjiru – light welterweight
8. Friza Anyango – Welterweight
9. Lorna Kusa – light middleweight
10. Elizabeth Akinyi – Middleweight
11. Elizabeth Andiego – light heavyweight.