By Eddie Akalonu
Former national boxing coach and Olympian, Isaac Ikhuoria has heaped the problem bedeviling amateur boxing in the country on the doorstep of sports administrators whom he said have failed to act as at when due on matters affecting the sport.
Speaking in Lagos recently, the Olympic bronze medalist expressed sadness about the appalling state of the game this way. “It’s a sad commentary that administrators allowed the beautiful sport to die a graduated death.
There were concrete measures handy to shore up the sport years back but the administrators turned blind eyes, doing nothing, hence boxing is now in a very poor state,” he said with regrets.
Ikhuoria went down memory lane recalling how boxing at the amateur level promoted the image of the country in the Olympics, Commonwealth, and the All Africa Games. “It’s a pity the sport that was the pride of the country in international sporting events has been left to die a graduated death.”
“I am putting the blame on administrators who left the sport to die through starvation of funds, non provision of training and retraining of coaches and the deliberate attitude of ensuring there were no competitions platform for boxers and their coaches to showcase their ability,”he stressed.
Ikhuoria, who won a bronze medal at the 1972 Munich Olympics, noted that at all levels, adequate provisions were lacking for boxers, saying it was a situation that left coaches idle and bare of development in the technical areas.
“In many states, coaches were starved of gloves, head-gears and punching bags to train boxers. This is not to mention the near absence of boxing rings.
Each time there is a national competition, the NSC has to move a ring from the nearest zonal sports office to where it was needed. That is not the best we can have. Equipment must be made available for the sport to grow,”he said.
Asked for the way forward, Ikhuoria said that present day administrators must be alive to their duties, stating there was need for training and retraining of coaches, provision of equipment for training and enough competitions for boxers and coaches.