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Ghanaian Boxers Face Heartbreak in African Olympic Qualifier

by Motoni Olodun

The spirited journey of Ghana’s elite boxers, known as the Black Bombers and the Black Hitters, abruptly stopped at the African Olympic Boxing Qualifier held in Dakar, Senegal. Hopes were high, but a series of unfavourable decisions from officials and fierce competition culminated in the team’s early exit.

Expectations were soaring with a contingent of 12 boxers, comprising seven men and five women. The nation watched with bated breath as their champions took to the ring, only to see them face setback after setback. Notably, Theophilus Allotey advanced to the Semi-Final, only to face defeat at the hands of a skilled Tunisian opponent in a contest largely dominated by North African talents.

Earlier this year, we reported on the increasing influence of North African nations in the boxing arena, with many pointing to their increasing dominance in officiating roles as a significant factor.

Heavyweight sensation Jonathan Tetteh, saw his Olympic dreams dashed in the quarterfinal against an Algerian adversary. Meanwhile, the team’s veteran captain, Abdul Wahid Qmar, faced an unanticipated loss, leaving many in shock.

Coach Rashid Williams, colloquially known as ‘Believer’, weighed in on the issue. He expressed his concerns about the disproportionate representation of North African officials. “It’s challenging to beat the North Africans when they hold sway in the decision-making roles,” he remarked. He further emphasised the need for increased participation from West Africans in officiating courses to ensure a level playing field on the international stage.

However, amidst the palpable disappointment, the head coach of the team, Dr. Ofori Asare, remains steadfast. Drawing parallels with the nation’s celebrated football team, the Black Stars, he remarked, “Just as the nation looks to the Black Stars with hope, our boxing team deserves equal, if not greater, attention and preparation for international tournaments.”

The culmination of the event without a Ghanaian stepping onto the medal podium was undeniably heartbreaking. Still, Dr. Asare voiced his pride for the team, reinforcing their resilience and potential in adversity.

As we wrap up this year’s qualifiers, one is reminded of similar instances from earlier in the year where underrepresented nations faced significant challenges on international platforms. The call for more inclusivity and balanced representation in sports officiating is louder than ever.

Source: News Ghana

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