Equality for Female Boxers in the Olympics

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AIBA sets new dates for 2016 AIBA Women's World Championships in Astana
by Michael O'Neill
October 31, 2015

(OCT 31)  The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has set new dates for the 2016 Women’s World Elite championships in Astana, Kazakhstan much to the displeasure of some of its own National Federations who say they were not consulted on the matter.

The championships were due from Jan 24-Feb 6 but will now take place between May 19-27.Bearing in mind that boxers of most nations have been preparing for the original January date this seriously disrupts their training schedule and as a result it is understood that several countries are now contemplating delaying their own Elite championships. The United States for example have been holding Olympic trials in Memphis which are due to end this weekend.

Having been contacted by WBAN, an AIBA spokesperson advised that ‘this is a logistical decision between AIBA and Local Organizing Committee in Astana’.

Many of its own Federations had already set dates in October and November 2015 for their own Olympic trials and/or National Elite championships and WBAN understands that several countries are deeply unhappy that the dates were arbitrarily changed to a much later date.

At the time of writing no official Press Release has been issued by the AIBA though that new dates are shown on the AIBA’s website’s calendar section and it is understood that the AIBA have mailed their own members explaining that boxers first go to their qualifiers and later onto the World’s but with a twist.

If a boxer wins the Confederation title they can also be sent by their local association to the Worlds OR that national association can choose to send a different boxer to the worlds and she too could qualify for Rio. That spells ‘big trouble’ in most people’s eyes.

First and foremost it appears that the national association would then have to choose which boxer of the two qualified to send so who would decide? A country’s Head Coach/National Association OR by means of another box-off? In addition let us look at another angle.

If I, for example, had already qualified in my Continent, then I (or another boxer) goes to the World Championships, then I have the power to eliminate boxers from the tournament and end their ability to qualify for the Olympics.

Crazy situation. Did they really think through all of the potential consequences? The European Confederation event is scheduled to end in Istanbul, Turkey only on 1st May and yet the boxers who will have spent a long week of boxing incorporating several bouts will have but two weeks to recover, train again for the Worlds and recover from any knocks or bruises received in Istanbul.

A meeting of the Confederations in Asia took place this week during Kazakhstan’s Astana Cup selection trials event when among the subjects discussed was the recent Men’s world championships in Doha. One can only surmise that at that meeting some factors emerged which resulted in the AIBA delaying the women’s event. It is likely that problems were identified which led to the postponement of the Worlds.

What these “logistical” reasons are remains a mystery but if the LOC have been having problems with dates or venue or other factors then these should surely have been identified at a much earlier date.

The Worlds & Olympic qualifiers apart here are the dates for the various Confederation championships as at today – unless any further changes will now be made. If so we will bring this to your attention as soon as we know.

AOB Olympic Games Qualifiers (men & women): nb: in all cases women only means the 3 Olympic weights.

AOB American March 8-20 Buenos Aires, Argentina
AOB African March 9-20 Yaounde,Cameroon
AOB Asia/Oceania March 23-April 3 Qian’an, China
AOB European April 20-May 1 Istanbul, Turkey
APB-WSB (men only) May 13-22 Sofia,Bulgaria
AIBA Women’s Worlds May 19-27 Astana,Kazakhstan
AOB Men only (World) June 7-19 Baku,Azerbaijan
Rio Olympic Games August 5-21 Rio de Janeiro,Brazil

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