As the days for the Boxing event of the Summer Olympics draws near, Coach Anthony Chukwuemeka Konyegwachie has vowed to get a medal for Team Nigeria from Nigeria’s sole entrant in Boxing, Efe Ajagba
Boxing takes the centre stage on Saturday, 13 August inside the Riocentro-Pavilion 6 and Trinidad and Tobago’s Nigel Paul would provide the first acid test for the Nigerian his optimistic coach said.
‘’All I know is that Efe Ajagba is as good as a medal here in the Olympics,” Konyegwachie said at the athletes Village in Rio.
‘’People have been wondering why we fielded only one boxer. The truth is that he got here by dint of hard work and discipline. Those are the core ingredients in boxing.
I know the boxer I have and am confident of what he can do,” the coach said.
He should know because he too was a crack pugilist who cracked many opponents in his active days.
‘’Ajagba is so dedicated to Boxing. He packs devastating punches and his right and left combinations are amazing together with his foot movement on the canvas. He has the height’’, the coach was almost singing the praise of the boxer.
Looking at Ajagba’s credentials, though, one can easily agree. Ajagba punched himself to reckoning at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 when he first represented Nigeria and settled for a bronze medal. At the 2015 African Games, the lanky boxer won gold. He’s currently rated fifth behind the boxers who would square up against him for the medals in Rio.
‘’He has improved from what he used to be. He’s good and focussed’’, Konyegwachie pointed out.
And how can you cope at the ring since you don’t have assistants? ‘’I’ve a friend who is going to help out during fights. Two can do the job’’. In a bout, there are about three coaches working on the boxer during breaks. ‘’My brother, all is well. My God fights for me’’, the coach said and could be heard singing; ‘’Do something new in my life as he entered the elevator.
Akinyemi sad after Rio failure
Nigeria’s sole entrant in the Slalom Canoeing event of the Rio Olympics, Jonathan Akinyemi is still gutted after failing to hit the semi final spot.
Akinyemi placed 20th on the field of 21 recording a time of 104.59 in his second run in the Men’s Kayak singles event.
‘’I made a terrible mistake that cost me the semi final spot’’, Jonathan confessed.
However, his father, John Akinyemi who is also his coach said he was worried because his son was yet to come to terms with the mistake he made that ruined his chances of a medal here in Rio.
‘’He’s still sulking and feel for him.
He put in so much for the Games and was sure of getting something. The whole thing is gone and my boy is still gutted’’, the father said.
He noted that his boy was still young and could still salvage everything if only the country would start now to prepare for Tokyo 2020.
‘’We need to plan and even look beyond Tokyo. Nigeria is blessed with brilliant athletes who are naturally strong. All we need do is to get good coaches and invest long time. That’s exactly what Great Britain did and they turned everything around. They had a budget of 314 billion pounds. And it translates to spending 600,000 pounds on one athlete. That’s awesome. Athletes are well prepared and they give their best and the result shows’’, Akinyemi senior said.