Benson Gicharu leads Kenyan provisional squad to this year’s Commonwealth Games to be staged in Gold Coast, Australia that kicks off on 4th to 15th April.
Gicheru punched his way to the top and is among the 13 boxers set for the world showpiece after he fought his way to make the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio-de-Janeiro, Brazil.
The team was unveiled by the Boxing Association of Kenya (BAK) following the conclusion of the two-day National Championships cum Trials at Kaloleni Social Hall in Nairobi on Saturday.
Representing Kenya Police, the two-time Olympian was joined by elite boxers who punched their ticket to Gold Coast with BAK selecting a squad of 10 male and four female but three male fighters will be dropped from the travelling party ahead of departure for Gold Coast.
On the list is Africa Lightweight champion Nick Okoth of Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) and Africa Light flyweight bronze medallist; Shaffi Bakari of Police also made the cut.
Gicharu scored 3-0 victory over his domestic rival Isaac Meja of KDF to retain his national Bantamweight crown.
Okoth and Bakari cruised past Ethan Maina of Police and Matayo Keya of Kenyatta National Hospital by the same margins to retain their national belts in the Lightweight and Light flyweight divisions.
Mohammed Ali of Kongowea booked a ticket to Australia without throwing a punch in the final after his opponent, Simon Mulinge of KDF, was ruled out injured after picking a knock in the preliminaries.
Nick Abaka, was glad to be back in the Hit Squad after a long absence.
Abaka, who missed the 2008 Beijing Olympics due to a jaw injury, won the Light heavyweight crown with an easy 3-0 win over Peter Abuti of Kenya Prisons.
Christine Ongare of Nairobi was handed a Commonwealth lifeline despite going down 2-1 in the women’s Flyweight final against Veronica Mbithe of Dallas.
Pioneering Kenyan female Olympian, Elizabeth Andiego of Nairobi, who is making a comeback from a protracted leg injury, will wait a little longer to know her fate after her opponent, Elizabeth Akinyi of Kentract failed to show up for their Middleweight final.
Kameta warned qualified boxers to focus and train hard ahead of the Gold Coast saying preliminary selection was not a guarantee to feature at the Games.
Commonwealth Games Preliminary Squad
Shaffi Bakari (Kenya Police)-Light fly
Benson Gicharu (Kenya Police)-Bantamweight
Jacob Kimathi (Kenya Prisons)-Welter
Nick Abaka(KDF)-Light heavy
Elly Ajowi (Kenya Police)-Heavyweight
Lonah Kusa(Nairobi)-Light welter
Elizabeth Andiego(Nairobi)Middleweight (fate subject to BAK’s approval)
Additional information by Sportpesa News