Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) secretary general Irene Ntelamo is optimistic that the future of women boxing is bright.
Ntelamo shared her sentiments after the boxing mother body, AIBA, introduced the 2017 Year of Africa project. The project will see Africa Boxing Confederation (AFBC) benefitting a lot in terms of development of athletes and administrators.
According to Ntelamo, the project is expected to re-engineer the way things have been done in pursuit of accelerating developing in boxing.
“Through this project we expect to focus on development and train administrators, coaches and referees with necessary skill to take the sport to another level. Those who attended courses will be given certificates according to their categories as they climb the ladder in their fields,” said Ntelamo. The projects will help Africa to produce top athletes who will be able to bring glory to the African continent.
She explained that AIBA had made an undertaking that they would provide the national federations with right equipment such as rings to enable athletes to train properly.
She said BoBA would put more effort on the grassroots development to create a pool of boxers from a young age. The project is also expected to develop infrastructure across the countries. It is expected to revive partnerships with schools and other institutions to develop and nurture boxing talent.
She said they would be targeting to produce international athletes who would later became Olympic champions. The continent will be divided into four with hubs in each region.
Ntelamo said: “There are many challenges that women boxers face and there is need for urgent remedy to be taken to attract more women into the sport so that it can also grow like their male counterparts’ section.”
Ntelamo observed that there was a lot that needed to be done for women boxing. To her the environment is not conducive for women to enroll in boxing in large numbers and the few women who are into boxing were discouraged by lack of support.
“If there is budget for women boxing their activities will be implemented. Also federations need policies that advocate for women empowerment that are mandatory for all boxing associations to abide by.
“Without a budget and policies women boxing will never be developed to the desired standards. Often you find that women boxing is not included in the calendar of events by federations,” she noted.
She further explained that federations lack resources in their pursuit for glory.
Ntelamo also observed that often women boxers are discouraged because opponents are not available.
“With the trained staff and instructors who will understand the needs of women, women boxing will grow and the desired results will be achieved,” Ntelamo said.
The other thing that Ntelamo wants to see happen in African countries is for women boxers to compete in top tournaments and also to have representatives in committees of leadership.