VANUATU’S boxing lightweight champion, Lionel Warawara will likely not compete in the AIBA World Championship (WC) in August due to the lack of financial assistance. Coach and MP, Uri Warawara said Lionel has competed in Oceania and was qualified to the AIBA World Championship in Germany.
“Lionel came back after the competition only to spend a week in Vanuatu and has to leave to attend training camp in Queensland, Australia in preparation towards the WC- it was very short timing,” he said.
“My main concern here is the financial assistance to cater for his training, accommodation and allowance was not done on time thus i had to asked for assistance from Andrew Duncan and his wife, Marie, thanks to them for stepping in to support Lionel with an allowance of Vt10,000 (approx US$92) and looked after him during his training.”
Mr Warawara said that Lionel was representing Vanuatu at the international boxing arena and it was logical that the authorities concerned support this boxing star in terms of finance and organisation towards this world event.
“I have received an email today (Thursday) that financial assistance of Lionel’s participation in the training camp that included usage of gym facilities at the Warrior Boxing Gym must be paid in before Monday next week, or Lionel will be withdrawn from the camp and sent back to Vanuatu which means he will not be taking part in the WC,” he said.
Coach Warawara has acknowledged the VASANOC through CEO Henry Tavoa for sponsoring Lionel’s airfare to Brisbane and is calling on authorities to step up in terms of financial support.
“I have been running around to find help for Lionel’s training which shouldn’t be that way, preparation funding should already be on standby after he qualified at the Oceania to represent Vanuatu at the WC,” he said.
“This is the same experience we have every time Lionel goes to competitions, though accommodation and food was taken care of there was never an allowance given to our officials and that should not be the case, in cases of emergency we are helpless so we need our authorities to seriously consider this.
“This not just for Lionel but so other boxers representing our country do not have to go through all the hassles that we are currently facing in terms of finance- all requirements set out by International boxing bodies should be met by our authorities to avoid withdrawals as such and let our professional athletes compete at the international competitions, flying Vanuatu’s flag in the international arena.”
He said that he has done his part in the upbringing and mentoring of Lionel Warawara to the world stage and needs support in place to enable Vanuatu’s participation at the WC in Germany.
“Lionel is currently under AIBA Coach, Johnny Black, who is the Head Coach at the Warrior boxing gym and i thank him for taking in Lionel in in a very short notice,” he said.