Two Seychellois boxers seek Olympic spots in qualifying tournament in Senegal
Agnes won a gold medal in the 11th edition of the Indian Ocean Island Games in Madagascar. (Telesesel)
Two Seychellois boxers, Keddy Agnes and Shain Boniface, left Seychelles on Wednesday for Dakar, Senegal, on a mission to qualify for the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris.
The qualifying tournament for Paris 2024 is taking place in the Dakar Arena from September 9-15, where 18 Olympic quota spots are up for grabs.
Agnes is hoping to carry the momentum of being recently crowned the champion at the Indian Ocean Island Games (IOIG) in Madagascar. Agnes won a gold medal after he knocked out Didier Jean-Baptiste from Reunion in the first round in the final of the +92 kg category.
He said that it will not be easy in Dakar.
"I will need to rest and at the same time get enough training to be able to compete and claim the gold medal, to seal my place in Paris," said Agnes, who will fight in the +92kg category.
Boniface, on the other hand, will be competing in the 67kg category, and will also be looking for a positive outcome after losing his final combat to win silver at the IOIG.
|Boniface, in blue, won a silver medal in the Indian Ocean Island Games in Madagascar. (Seychelles Nation) Photo License: CC-BY|
The two boxers are accompanied by their coach Rival Payet.
Since the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, the number of men's weight classes has been reduced by one to seven with the women's increased by one to six.
In the Africa qualifier in Dakar, there is just one men's quota berth available in each of the seven classes.
This is the second qualifier for the Paris Olympic Games after June's European Games, which saw 44 boxers obtain quota places for their National Olympic Committees.
For boxers who fail to earn quota spots in Dakar, there will be further opportunities at the two world qualification tournaments in Busto Arzizio, Italy, from February 29 to March 12 March, and one in Bangkok, Thailand, from May 23 to June 3.
Seychelles has yet to win a medal at the Olympic Games, and qualifying for the games is the first step towards achieving this feat.
The last Seychellois boxer who qualified for the Olympic Games was Andrique Allisop. He booked his spot in the 2016 Olympic Games after finishing third -- an Olympic qualifying position -- at the African Olympic qualification event in Cameroon organised by the International Boxing Association (AIBA).
Allison who competed in the 60kg category, defeated Tunisian Alaa Shili to win the bronze medal. Allisop also qualified for the 2012 Olympics in London.