Head trainer of the national amateur boxing team, the Black Bombers, Coach John Ofori Asare, says winning an Olympic Games medal is more prestigious than winning a world title belt.
Reacting to concerns that the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games would push amateur boxers to turn professional, coach Asare said it would not be ideal for any amateur boxer who has qualified for the Games to think of turning professional just because the Games has been shifted forward due to the novel corona virus pandemic.
The Games will now take place in July 2021.
“Professional boxing is not active at the moment. Everything has come to a halt because of the pandemic; so if an amateur boxer decides to join the professional ranks at this period just because the Olympic Games have been shifted to next year, that won’t be reasonable enough.”
According to him, the boxers should see the postponement as a blessing in disguise and an opportunity to prepare extra well for the Games rather than retrogression in their chosen field.
“For now, if you win an Olympic Games medal, it is more than winning a world title, because for many years now, no Ghanaian has been able to achieve that feat for the country. Even the whole country has only four medals since joining the Games at the 1952 edition in Helsinki; and out of the four medals, boxing has three and I believe this should rather spur on our boxers to also aspire for a medal.”
“The likes of silver medalist Clement Quartey from the 1960 Rome Games, bronze medalists Eddie Blay from the 1964 Tokyo Games and Prince Amartey from the 1972 Munich Games have their names written on the minds of Ghanaians even till date and to join these group of Olympics medalists would be no mean an achievement for any boxer,” he further stated.
“Ghana currently has two boxers heading for the Games and we hope to get a few more before the Games starts. Should any of them go and win a medal, that would be a very great achievement which would be permanently fresh on the minds of Ghanaians. That is why it is good to wait and make a mark at the Olympic Games level rather than rushing out of the amateur ranks.”
To this end, the AIBA instructor advised the current crop of Black Bombers to do away with plans of turning professionals and concentrate on achieving the ultimate at the upcoming Tokyo Games before stepping up in ranks.
“I have spoken to the boxers under my tutelage to put in all efforts and make sure this Olympic dream which we started years ago would end successfully with at least a medal to crown it all,” he told Joy FM in an interview.
BY RAYMOND ACKUMEY