'NO PREPARATION, NO MEDALS BOXER'
By Bolade Oladoye
March 24, 2010 01:28AM
Nigeria Super Heavyweight amateur champion, Onoriode Ehwarieme, says the inability of the Nigeria Amateur Boxing Federation (NABF) to organise championships for its boxers, may mar their chances at the October Commonwealth Games.
The NABF in the last six years has been unable to organise national competitions for its boxers, apart from the occasional trials for major international events like the World Championship, Commonwealth Games and the Olympic Games.
Given this development, Nigeria's amateur boxers find themselves idle for long periods without any opportunity to put into practice all they have learned during training sessions.
A victim of this situation, Onoriode, formerly rated number eight in the world rankings in his category has dropped to number 23. The boxer, who has been to the last two world championships, the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games and the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games without any medal to show for his efforts blames it on lack of competition to adequately prepare him for these top flight events.
With barely seven months to the commencement of this year's Commonwealth Games taking place in New Delhi, Onoriode envisages disaster for Nigeria at the Games:
'We are training now, but no competition to test what you have learnt. It is only in active mode that you know where you needed to improve. Two years after we came back from the Olympics I am still training with people that I have been training with for the last four years, what I am going to learn?
'The Commonwealth is almost here now; nobody is asking us how our preparation is going, how we are surviving, yet when we come back with no medals, they will pounce on us forgetting nothing was invested on us.'
When the boxer was asked how sure he was of going to the Commonwealth since he might still lose at trials whenever it is organised, he replied that he doesn't see that happening:
'I am a rated boxer, I have boxed internationally, and apart from me nobody in my category has had that experience. Besides, I have fought all of them before, so I don't foresee a surprise.'
The way forward, according to him, is for the boxing secretariat to organise championships for them, take them to Ghana and Togo where they can spar with other boxers to have a fresh perspective.
'The Commonwealth Games is a lot easier to win than the Olympics or the World Championships; it will be disastrous if we fail to win anything due to inadequate preparation.'