October 13 - South Africa, who were represented by just one boxer at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, plans to send nearly 50 of its top boxers to Cuba to prepare for the London 2012 Games.

The South African National Amateur Boxing Organisation (Sanabo) is arranging for 43 men and women to travel to the Caribbean island next year.

Cuban coaches will also visit South Africa to work with boxers identified as having potential for London 2012.

Cuba has dominated boxing at the Olympics and Sanabo is confident that their boxers will be better prepared in London in 2012.

As part of the preparations for the Olympics, Sanabo is launching a programme to identify gifted young men and women who could qualify for London.

The programme will take the form of provincial tournaments, with Sanabo and Boxing South Africa (BSA) working together to identify potential medallists.

BSA will be responsible for technical issues and operations. 

The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) will also be involved in overseeing the project.

The tournaments will start in Kimberley on Saturday (October 17) with the final one taking place in GaRankuwa on October 29.

Barries Barnard, the President of Sanabo, said: "This is an opportunity that we will utilise to the absolute maximum to market 'Olympic style' boxing in South Africa, while at the same time creating an overall awareness of the boxing potential in our country.

"From the process roughly 100 to 120 boxers will be selected to be part of the exciting programme."

Boxing is South Africa's second most successful Olympic sport after athletics.

They have won a total of 19 medals, including six gold.

But the last medals were won at the 1960 Olympics in Rome when Daniel Bekker claimed a silver in the heavyweight category and Williams Myers a bronze in the featherweight division.

The team's most successful performance was at the 1948 Olympics in London when South Africa won four boxing medals, including golds for George Hunter in the light-heavyweight and Gerald Dreyer in the lightweight.

But South Africa was represented by only flyweight Jackson Chauke in Beijing last year and he was beaten out in the first round.

Barnard said selected boxers under the new scheme would be absorbed into the South African National Defence Force and the department of correctional services .

He said: "They will undergo mandatory training from January to June 2010 as well as boxing training.

"The next step will be for selected boxers to fight against the existing amateur squads in the various Sanabo areas."