The State Department for Sports has a signed a deal with the government of Cuba to offer specialized training to Kenyan boxers.
Through the deal, talented Kenyan boxers will train in Cuba to horn their skills as Kenya moves to regain her foothold in the sport.
Sports Cabinet Secretary, Ababu Namwamba said the first cohort to benefit from the deal is the national team with the specialized training expected to be rolled out before the end of the year.
The national boxing team famously known as ‘The Hit-Squad’ are expected to undergo training ahead of the Olympic games in Paris next year.
Boxing, he added was one of the sports that put Kenya on the international map but the fortunes have dwindled over the years.
“Kenya used to be incredibly strong in boxing. We were the first African country to win a gold medal in boxing at the Olympics but we have since regressed,” he said.
The government’s renewed commitment on the sport, he added will see an aggressive recruitment drive and rehabilitation of facilities across the country.
This, he said will culminate in the selection of a strong team to represent Kenya at the Olympics.
Speaking at Jomo Kenyatta Sports Grounds in Kisumu during the first edition of Kisumu Arts and Culture Festival, Namwamba said his ministry was in the process of rehabilitating and establishing new boxing facilities in the country to support growth of the sport.
“For you to be selected to join the national team you must train well in your locality,” he said.
To actualize the plan, the ministry, he said, will work with county governments to make use of social centers which are lying idle and convert them into academies to regenerate interest in the sport.
First among the projects, he disclosed was the construction of a modern boxing ring in Kisumu to tap and nurture talent.
“Kisumu is a home of serious boxers and I have tasked the county executive in charge of sports to bring this to my desk so that we can start the construction of a boxing ring in this city,” he said.