By Izuchukwu Okosi:
Former Nigerian national team boxing coach Obisia Nwakpa and the country's 2010 Singapore Youth Olympics boxer, Segun Olalehin, have both expressed divergent opinions on Nigeria's hopes of winning laurels at the 2016 Oympics in Rio de Janeiro, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
The Nigerian national boxing team is currently coached by Tony Konyegwachi with Adura Olalehin the technical coach.
Completesportsnigeria.com spoke exclusively to the duo of Nwakpa and Olalehin on their thoughts as Team Nigeria prepare for the Rio Olympics.
"My opinion is that a training tour abroad and participation in world championships would have helped the boxers prepare better for the Olympics, but it's a shame that for two years now, there has been no open national championship," Obisia Nwakpa, a former World Boxing Council (WBC) contender who is now into boxing/sports consultancy began.
"The Nigeria Boxing Federation just handpick boxers that will represent Nigeria at such major competitions like the Olympics. Where is it done? Then three weeks or so to the Olympics, you put them somewhere without adequate facilities and welfare and want them to go and win medals for you.
"The boxers we intend taking to the Olympics ought to have some preparatory fights. The talent might be there, but they also need to be in tournament mood. This is why I no longer pay attention to what we do in our boxing," Nwakpa who represented Nigeria at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany, as well as at the 1973 All Africa Games hosted by Nigeria. and the 1974 Commonwealth Games in New Zealand told Completesportsnigeria.com.
Segun Olalehin who fights in the 69kg welterweight category and represented
Ondo State at the 2014 National Sports Festival, will not represent Nigeria at the Olympics due to injury, but he trusts the competence of his fellow boxers to bring glory to Nigeria.
"We have great boxers in the team camping in Lokoja, Kogi State for the Olympics. I believe they will do well. The last Olympics was a bad outing, but at the last All Africa Games we won four gold medals. That's great promise.
"I will not be part of Nigeria's Olympics team due to a hand injury I sustained in training in December (2015), but I know the capabilities of the boxers that will represent the country.
"My left knuckle is in bad shape now, so I have to relax it for the 2018 Commonwealth Games and 2017 World Championship," Segun, the brother of USA-based technical coach, Adura Olalehin, added.
"There is Waidi Shogbami from Ogun State who fights in the lightweight category and Efe Ajagba who won gold at the All Africa Games in Congo last year. There is this new boy, Femi, who fights in the 69kg lightweight, that boy sure has a big future," Olalehin told Completesportsnigeria.com.
Nigeria last won boxing medals in the Olympic Games in 1992 when Barcelona hosted it.
David Izonritie won the Heavyweight silver medal while Richard Igbineghu also won silver in the Super Heavyweight category.
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