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Funding secured for Olympic qualifiers

Get in the ring: Andre Lambe, right, with Bermuda coach Kevin Simmons at the L.F Wade International Airport before their flight to Tijuana, Mexico

Bermuda’s boxing hopes of reaching the 2020 Olympics are alive after funding was secured to send Andre Lambe and Tyler Christopher to the Central American and Caribbean Games qualifiers in Tijuana, Mexico.

Both southpaws have arrived in Tijuana where they will face some of the most talented boxers in the region in a bid to reach the CAC Games in Barranquilla, Colombia, this summer.

Last week it was doubtful whether they would make the trip to the border city after the International Olympic Committee suspended all funding for the crisis-hit International Boxing Association.

It meant the Bermuda Olympic Association had no choice but to pull funding from the Bermuda Boxing Federation, which subsequently appealed to the community to assist helping cover the costs of the team’s travel.

“Thanks to Teachers Rugby Club, Arnold’s Market and The Dog House, the Bermuda national boxing team were able to get to Mexico for the CAC Games qualifier,” Nathan Dill, the BBF president, said.

Lambe and Christopher warmed up for the weeklong qualifiers, which start on Sunday, by claiming wins over Canadian opponents at an amateur event at CedarBridge Academy last month. They have two opportunities remaining to qualify for Tokyo 2020, at the CAC Games and the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru, next year.

The pair are hoping to emulate Olympians Clarence Hill, Roy Johnson, Robert Burgess and Quinn Paynter by reaching the Tokyo Games. Boxing is the only sport to have put Bermuda on the Olympic map, with heavyweight Hill winning bronze at the Montreal Games in 1976.

Boxing, however, could be excluded from the Tokyo Games, with the IOC shelving all Olympic Solidarity boxing-related activities until further notice because of concerns surrounding AIBA’s long-term governance problems.