National boxing coaches, Reynold Cox and Floyd Trumpet, are intent on qualifying newly promoted senior athlete Michael Alexander to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Dubbed as one of the most successful junior boxers for 2014, Alexander captured bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, and bagged another at the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games in Veracruz, Mexico.
Although still nursing a shoulder injury from his recent CAC stint, Alexander is hoping to be fully recovered by March as he winds down preparations ahead of three tough Olympic qualifiers.
Speaking to coach Cox, he admitted that 2015 is indeed a big year for the young pugilist.
“We definitely want to see if we can get Michael Alexander to qualify (for the 2016 Olympics),” said Cox. “His first qualifier is the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) World Championships (October 5-18) this year. Then there will be two other qualifiers in 2016, one in the Americas and a universal tourney as the final decider.”
Having now entered the top-flight senior division, Alexander anticipates some challenging times ahead. Cox and Trumpet are presently building their athlete towards Olympic qualification with the former pleased with his competitive prowess on both the local and international circuit thus far.
“I think it was a good year (2014) for him because we set out to get him on the podium. We did so a couple times and that was a good step for us. Michael Alexander is knocking on the door and if he maintains what he is doing right now we can see him qualifying for the Olympic Games and beyond,” added Cox.
The boxing coach indicated that he is presently building a team around Alexander in an effort to produce multiple local qualifiers for the 2020 Summer Games. He hopes that over the coming years an array of youthful boxers will be generated in an effort to expand TT’s contingent of athletes for coming international tourneys.
“To win an Olympic medal in boxing at the Olympic Games, it takes approximately four to eight years of hard training. And this is what we are trying to provide the athletes with right now. We are seeing the opportunities coming our way by getting athletes on the podium so we will continue with this kind of work and keep pushing forward. Our programme so far has been reaping good results,” he added.
He went on to note that Alexander will be their main focus for the 2016 Games while the upcoming athletes are keen prospects for other major meets. Alexander and his youthful group currently train at the elite boxing gym at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
Cox concluded, “This year is strong year for us to also do some development in relation to women boxing. We want to get them back in to the fray. At one time we had a very strong women team and well they fell off the grid so this is an initiative we want to nurture this coming year.”