By Henry Morabang.
The four boxers are Charlie Keamau (49kg), Junior Kaoka Raga (52kg), Henry Umings (56kg) and captain Tom Bonga 60kg.
The team, under national coach Joe Aufa, is at Griffith University in Brisbane for the high-level training before leaving for the Olympic qualifying tournament at the Australia Institute of Sports (AIS) in Canberra from March 20-26.
PNG Boxing Union president John Avira said they concentrated on the lighter division where PNG had better prospects over other countries.
“Ideally I want all four boxers to qualify but two boxers Charlie Keamau and Henry Umings are the stand out among the four,” he said.
Historically PNG have been successful in the lighter weight classes particularly at 49kg and 52kg.
Avira said AIBA recently had applied new qualification criteria and divided the tournament into confederations – meaning the gold medal winners in each division would take part in the Olympics. PNGABU acknowledged the support of patron and Deputy Prime Minister Belden Namah.
Avira thanked Namah for helping the PNGABU host the national boxing championships in Vanimo last year.
He also thanked Lamana Hotel for its support to amateur boxing.
Lamana general manager Yiannis Nicholau has been supportive of boxing by providing rooms and facilities for the team to use before their departure.
Avira also thanked the PNG Sports Federation and Olympic Committee secretary-general Auvita Rapilla for providing the financial support for the PNG teams to attend the Olympic qualifiers.
Aufa said each boxer’s preparation had so far been good.
“They have been doing their own training at the local clubs and are looking forward to training in Brisbane,” Aufa said.
Aufa is confident that the boys would produce good results.
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