Shaffi Bakari: I'm the man!
By FRANCIS MUREITHII am going for a win, win and win a gold medal in my first Commonwealth Games," were the words 25- year-old Shaffi Bakari Hassan said prior to travelling to Australia for the Gold Coast Games. And true to his prediction Bakari, who started boxing at Kisauni Boxing Club in 2002, has put himself on the path by winning his first bout at the "Club" Games', outpointing Namibia's Matias Hamunyela 3-2.Bakari played his first national boxing league match in 2010 and his prediction has come to pass as he duly clinched his first ever victory at the Commonwealth Games.
Bakari started the trade of unarmed combat at the tender age of nine under the guidance of former boxer Lemmy "Cobra" Katibi.The light flyweight boxer has started to write his history in the Kenya national boxing team's famed fork lore as he began his Gold Coast campaign.
His name will no doubt not miss in one of the chapters when the story of the 2018 Games will be written.But unaware to many boxing enthusiasts, Bakari who turns out for Kenya Police's boxing team "Chafua Chafua", largely owes his rise in the sport to participation in the Commonwealth Games Youth Championship in 2011 at Isle of Man Island in England.
"This was my first international outing and I was eliminated in the round of 16," said Bakari.He added: "I learnt valuable lesson.
I fought youthful boxers from various countries who were more exposed than me. The experience and exposure was not in vain as I upgraded my fighting styles," said Bakari.
In his second international outing at the world championship qualifiers in Congo Brazzaville last year, Bakari pulled a surprise when he won a bronze medal."When I won this medal against hardened and experienced opponents, I knew I could also rise to the top of African boxing.
Watch this space."Names: Shaffi Bakari HassanDate of birth: May 5, 1993Place of birth: Mombasa CountyMarital status: Married with two childrenMedals won: Bronze world championships qualifiersMajor competitions: Commonwealth Youth championships, India inaugural International Championship, World Championship.