Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Pyrrhic victory for Kenosi against weight as Olympics dream dies

When Keamogetse Kenosi, fondly known as Sadie in the boxing circles made history as the first woman boxer to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics and the first ever Motswana female boxer to qualify for the Olympics games, some euphoria erupted.

The euphoria was however to be short lived as rumours started making rounds that the athlete has had a fallout with her coach Lechedzani Master Luza over her growing weight.

With the Olympics fast approaching and Sadie’s weight seemingly not under control, the powers that be allegedly forced the 24-year-old pugilist to go on a strict diet or lose her ticket to Tokyo.

Fresh rumours then started circulating in the local media that the diet program was making the athlete weak and her performance was plummeting.

Following her unanimous 5 – 0 loss to Great Britain’s Karri Artingstall in bout 15 of women’s feather weight round of 32, it now appears Sadie’s loss had something to do with the battle she fought and won against her weight.

Right to the eve of the Tokyo Olympics, the athlete was still battling her weight problems, something which Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) Public Relations Officer (PRO) Taolo Tlouetsile acknowledges.

While the BoBA PRO shied away from going into details of Sadie’s performances, he said the association did its best to put together best preparations for the athletes and coaches.

“I will not address technical issues here. I think the coach and manager will give a report then we take it from there,” Tlouetsile said.

He however pointed out that Sadie’s battle with weight can not be ruled out as one of the reasons that affected her performance.

“You will recall that we had to send fitness coach with the team to the last international training camp in Russia to assist her to drop weight. It is not healthy for elite athlete to drop weight a few days before a major competition. It takes a lot of steam from them,” Tlouetsile explained.

“Weight had an impact. But as I said, I do not want to go into technical matters. However, it looked like she lost some power, her stamina was suspect, but she put a good account of herself,” the BoBA PRO added.

Boxing analyst Solomon Kakuwa said a boxer should be disciplined enough to keep their weight in check, adding that failure to do such is a grave mistake in the sport.

“Sadie long qualified with that weight, there was no way coaches would move her to 60kg in a blink of an eye,” he observed.

Kakuwa said as confident as the nation was with sending its first female boxer to the Olympics, Kenosi’s off the ring troubles killed her confidence.

“The attitude has always been wrong since she qualified. She became a star of the games before the games. She and the coach did not have a good understanding of each other which also contributed,” Kakuwa added.

“When a boxer is confident enough you will see their attitude when getting into the boxing ring. Secondly when they shake hands you will see they cannot wait for the first bell to ring leading to composure behind every punch missing or not,” he explained. 

He said Sadie never showed any hunger from the first round and her weight problems had more to do with her final results.

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