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Tanzanian Boxer Strives for Olympic Gold

  • Sonny Young

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Tanzanian boxer Selemani Kidunda is among the many athletes who are hoping to win a medal at the upcoming Olympic games in London. The 28-year-old boxer, who will be competing in the 69-kilogram welterweight class in London.

Selemani Kidunda grew up and still lives on the outskirts of Tanzania’s commercial capital, Dar es Salaam. He says when he was a young boy he saw a former world heavyweight champion fight and that got him interested in the sport.

"I got attracted to boxing by watching Mike Tyson, and whenever I tried people cheered me on, I found out that I could do, I worked hard on my training and now here I am," he said.

Kidunda is now training hard in hopes of becoming his country’s first Olympic medalist in boxing. Tanzania has won a total of two medals in Olympic competition, with both coming in athletics at the 1980 Games in Moscow. Kidunda says fighting well in London will boost him to even greater heights in the future.

"My goal is to be a champion who is world renowned so if someone asks who is Selemani Kidunda who weighs this much, they’ll know he is a world champion from Tanzania," he said.

As Kidunda prepares for Olympic competition, he’s calling on the Tanzanian government to provide more financial support for the national boxing team.

"The government should work on equipping us with training tools," he said. "If you see the national teams of other countries, they are given government support, and this is what I am asking the government."

Meanwhile, Tanzanian boxing officials say they have high hopes for the London Olympics.

"My expectation is that we will do well because we have been out of the Olympics for many years … the last time we took part was in 1996 in Atlanta," he said.

Outside the ring, Selemani Kidunda is proud of his two children, who would love to see their father return home from London with an Olympic medal around his neck.