Comoros Boxing Federation have embarked on a massive primary schools boxing project aimed at popularising the sport and encourage more women to take up boxing.
The president of the Comorian federation Mohammed Mbechezi told AFBC Communications the project has received a big boost from the French Embassy who’ve donated $94,000.
“I’m very happy about this project, we’re doing it in partnership with the French Ministry of Foreign Office and our Ministry of Education,” says Mbechezi who was elected the president of the federation in June last year.
“We sought and obtained funding of 94,375 euros from the French Embassy. We want to reach 2,000 children (girls and boys) in 60 schools throughout the country. On behalf of Comorian federation I express my sincere appreciation to the French Embassy for their support.
“The awareness campaign starts after the Indian Ocean Island Games in Madagascar kicking off on August 25. We will travel to India mid next month to buy equipment worth $73,000.”
Mbechezi says if everything goes on well, they will launch the schools boxing project in November in conjunction with the Comoros Ministry of Education.
“The aim of this project is to popularise boxing and increase the number of boxers in Comoros to over 1,200 by the time the next Indian Ocean Island Games take place in 2027,” says Mbechezi.
“We will deploy around thirty instructors who will work in collaboration with the schools, and to whom we will provide the equipment needed to popularise educational boxing and women’s boxing in schools.”
According to Mbechezi, currently they have about 15 female boxers learning the sport but none of them has participated in any tournament because they have not yet attained the required standard.
Since the introduction of boxing in Comoros in 1964, women have shied away from boxing which they’ve viewed as a man-only sport.
“We’ve worked hard to change this mentality from the time we took over the management of boxing, that’s why already we have female boxers training and learning the game,” says Mbechezi.
“Through the schools project we’re sure more women will join the sport, we will also have a schools boxing championships to involve boys and girls.”
Plans are underway for Mbechezi and his team to travel to Marseille in France to check on Comorian female boxers whom they feel could fit in their plans for next year’s season. Over 300,000 Comorian community lives in France.
“We have a lot of Comorians in Marseille, we’ve been told some of our women are doing boxing, so we want to assess their performance and if possible include them in the national team for Zone 4 tournament which we will host in April next year.”
Boxing in Comoros is gradually picking up, and so far the national team has participated in six international tournaments among them the World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, Africa Championships in Yaounde and IBA Golden Belt series early this year in Marrakesh, Morocco where the country’s top boxer currently, Mohamed Mdahoma, won a bronze medal in the middleweight division. The next international assignment for the national boxing team will be in the Indian Ocean Island Games scheduled for Madagascar from August 25.
Locally, there are no tournaments taking place. The federation will this year hold the first national championships in 10 years in November starting with the three islands organising their regional championships.
Comoros proclaimed independence from France in July 6, 1975, and is made up of three islands namely Grand Comore known as Ngazidja, Moheli and Anjoun. The fourth island, Mayotte, is still administered by France. Moroni, based in Ngazidja, is the capital city of Comoros.
Photo: Some of the Comorian female boxers in a training session. They’ve shown more interest in boxing since the current federation came into office last year but none of them has participated in any tournament
Credit: AFBC Communications