Ghana’s amateur boxing team, Black Bombers, face an uncertain future following their inability to compete in the African Boxing Championship in Brazzaville. The situation has left acting Ghana Amateur Boxing Federation (GABF) president, George Lamptey, lamenting the future of the young boxers whose development at key international competitions have been truncated.
The Bombers’ no show in the Congolese capital was due to the failure of the government to raise $32,000 to fund their trip, and their absence from the continental championship means Ghana will also not be present at the 2017 World Championship in Germany, as well as the 2018 Commonwealth Games in the Australian city of Gold Coast.
The June 17-25 competition in Brazzaville serves as a qualifier for the AIBA World Boxing Championships in Hamburg, meaning Ghanaian boxers who have prepared feverishly for the continental championship will miss opportunities to compete at the world stage.
The GABF boss lamented the failure of the Ministry of Youth and Sports to make good on its promise to ensure Ghana participated in the games, after his outfit was made to prune down the size of the contingent from 18 to 15 and its initial budget also slashed from $54,000 to $32,000.
“We were even made to account for a receipt of $50 to the ministry as a condition for our travelling and we did that immediately but still we couldn’t go,” a bewildered Lamptey told the Graphic Sports in an interview.
Mr Lamptey noted that the boxers’ absence form three major international events would jeopardise their future as they needed such international exposure as part of their development. He stated the situation also threatened the revival of amateur boxing in the country, particularly the GABF’s policy to identify and develop 20 amateur boxers in each of the 10 regions of Ghana.
“This idea of one region, 20 boxers we have been harbouring has now been thrown out of the window,’ he said. The situation is really sad.”
He noted that the inability to make the trip has quashed the ambitions of four amateur boxing coaches, three referees and two cutmen who had earlier trained in an AIBA ITO certification course in Lome, Togo and were expecting to continue the training in Congo, Germany and Australia.
“We don’t have these expertise in the country and this was an opportunity for us to get some,” he noted, adding that the turn of events had demoralised the young boxers who trained for many weeks in preparation for the international competitions”.