Two boys have boxing training in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Oct. 2, 2022.(Photo by Herman Emmanuel/Xinhua)
DAR ES SALAAM, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- As they reported for boxing training on a sunny Sunday evening at an open ground in Tanzania's commercial capital Dar es Salaam's chaotic suburb of Manzese, two young boys looked normal like their friends.
After a few minutes, Mahadi Bakari Mohamed, 13, and Omary Mohamed Mndenge, 12, changed from their ordinary wear and put on boxing regalia to face thunderous applause from people, mostly youth, who gathered at the ground to watch them in training.
"I am training very hard to fulfill my determination and ambition of becoming a boxing world champion in the future," Mahadi told Xinhua in an interview during his two-hour training break at the Tishio Boxing Club.
Mahadi is trained by his father, 37-year-old Bakari Magona, a professional boxer.
"Boxing is in my blood and I will not rest until I become a world champion in boxing," said Mahadi.
At 13 years old, Mahadi, a Form One student at Tandika Secondary School, boasts that he has already won five out of six amateur boxing bouts in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.
He said he started cultivating an interest in boxing when he saw his father coming back from training drenched in sweat.
"The way my father appeared after he had come back from training inspired me and I made a decision that this is the way to go," Mahadi told Xinhua.
Mndenge, a Standard Six pupil at Muhimbili Primary School, echoed Mahadi's ambition, saying he also wanted to become a world champion in boxing.
Both boys weighing 31 kilograms each, said they train on Saturdays and Sundays for a total of five hours, three hours in the morning and two hours in the evening.
Magona, the coach-cum-boxer, said his son Mahadi and his sister's sibling Mndenge started cultivating an interest in boxing when they were very young.
"When I returned from boxing training, my son will pick up my boxing regalia like gloves and start putting them in his hands," said Magona, adding that it was at that time when he realized that his son has talent in boxing.
"I started training him when he was three years old until now when he is 13 years old," he said, adding that his son is looking forward to attaining great success in the boxing ring.
However, the boxing coach said there were many young boys with boxing talents in Tanzania but they lacked support from their poor parents in providing them with boxing regalia, including boxing gloves, boxing shorts, and boxing gum shields.
Magona added that Tanzania lacked a boxing academy for training talented young boxers.
Mwanahamisi Mohamed, Mndenge's mother, was among the people who watched the two boys in training that Sunday evening, and she did not mince her words when she said that "I gave my son permission to train in boxing when he told me he wants to become a world champion in boxing."
"I believe that if he becomes a boxing champion in the future our life will definitely change for the better," beamed the mother of three children.
Boxing is one of the favorite sports in Tanzania. ■
A boy puts on boxing gloves in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Oct. 2, 2022.(Photo by Herman Emmanuel/Xinhua)
A boy pumps his fist in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Oct. 2, 2022.(Photo by Herman Emmanuel/Xinhua)