April 23, 2024


2 min read

Star boxer quits ahead of Olympics Qualifiers

Star boxer quits ahead of Olympics Qualifiers

Lesotho's star boxer, Arena Pakela

Story highlights

    Pakela was slated to participate in inaugural Mandela African Boxing Cup in Durban
    Boxer says it is time to shift focus towards improving his life other than boxing

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LESOTHO's star boxer, Arena Pakela, has stunned the sporting world with his announcement of an early retirement from competitive boxing, marking a surprising exit from the ring just ahead of his scheduled Olympics qualifiers in Asia.

Pakela, 26, revealed his decision to hang up his gloves amid preparations for the Paris Olympics qualifiers.

He expressed that it is time to shift his focus towards improving his life rather than continuing in the sport of boxing.

The boxer's resolve to retire strengthened after his return from the first World Boxing Olympics qualifiers held in Busto Arsizio, Italy, earlier this year.

Unfortunately, he fell short of securing a spot at the Paris Olympic Games during this event.

This setback followed his narrow miss at the African Boxing Olympics Qualifiers held in Dakar, Senegal, just weeks prior to the Busto Arsizio qualifiers.

The upcoming Bangkok, Thailand Olympic qualifiers were set to be Pakela's third attempt to secure a ticket to Paris.

In preparation for these qualifiers, he was slated to participate in the inaugural Mandela African Boxing Cup in Durban, South Africa.

However, Pakela was notably absent from the roster of local boxers competing in the neighbouring country.

Letšasa Taole, the Lesotho Boxing Association's (LeBA) new Public Relations Officer, confirmed Pakela's initial inclusion in the Mandela Cup team but explained that personal issues led to his withdrawal.

Pakela clarified that he had informed both LeBA and LNOC (the Lesotho National Olympic Committee) well in advance about his retirement plans.

He cited his desire to focus on personal development beyond sports, expressing frustration over the lack of progress despite dedicating a significant portion of his life to boxing.

Reflecting on the challenges faced by Lesotho athletes, Pakela highlighted insufficient support and poor preparation for international competitions as major hurdles.

He emphasised the need for better preparation and incentives to compete effectively on the global stage.

Despite efforts from LNOC to persuade him to reconsider, Pakela remained steadfast in his decision to retire.

He declined counselling sessions and expressed his finality on the matter.

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LNOC's Public Relations Officer, Fetang Selialia, acknowledged Pakela's decision and expressed disappointment, particularly given his status as a beneficiary of the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship.

Selialia revealed LNOC's attempts to secure additional opportunities for Pakela, including a tripartite slot for the Paris Olympics and a training camp in Italy.

Sources within LeBA disclosed unsuccessful attempts to dissuade Pakela from retirement, citing concerns over allowances and coaching.

However, Pakela denied receiving inadequate allowances and expressed dissatisfaction with the coaching setup.

Pakela's departure from boxing comes at a time when he was considered one of Lesotho's top prospects for major international sporting events, including the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, and World Athletics Championships.

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