Boxers to compete at 2014 Junior Olympics
East London - Hard work and dedication have paid off for nine Eastern Cape boxers, who beat some of South Africa’s big guns to secure themselves a seat on the plane to Scotland next year to participate in the 2014 Junior Olympics.
The nine boxers, including four boys and five girls aged between 15 and 18, won their places at the Junior Olympics by beating their opponents at a national youth boxing tournament held in Bethlehem last week.
“The fact that nine of my boxers are going to Scotland shows how passionate Eastern Cape youth are about boxing. It’s further proof that the Eastern Cape always has been and always will be the home of boxing in this country,” said team manager Lulama Menzelwa on Thursday.
He said the nine boxers were part of a 24-member team that went to Bethlehem to compete in the tournament.
The team won 23 medals overall, nine gold, eight silver and six bronze medals, putting them at the top of the leader board. They were crowned the number one team at the tournament.
Menzelwa said he always knew he had a good team, but didn’t expect them to come back from Bethlehem with so many medals.
“My team did this despite overwhelming odds, including not having training equipment and tracksuits. It shows how well-disciplined and dedicated they are,” added Menzelwa.
Team captain Azinga Fuzile (17), one of the boxers that will compete in Scotland, could barely contain his excitement.
“I won gold in 2011 and got to box in Germany. Now I will get to go over again and box in Scotland. I can’t tell you how excited I am right now,” said Fuzile, a learner from Kusile Comprehensive School in Duncan Village.
He said his main goal now was to win a gold medal at the Junior Olympics and be crowned world champion.
Female boxer and gold medalist Thobela Nyanga (16) said this was the first time she had won gold at a national tournament.
“The gold is my ticket to Scotland and it will help me become a better fighter and to be able to challenge for international titles,” said Nyanga, who attends Nyameko High school in Mdantsane.
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula is on a drive to revive boxing in South Africa. He aims to galvanise stakeholder to resolve the challenges facing the boxing profession and restore the sport to its former glory. – SAnews.gov.za