(JUNE 25) The International
Boxing Association (AIBA) has confirmed to WBAN that an
announcement will be made Monday as to which countries have been
allocated the remaining women’s slots in Rio 2016.
As we have said here before, and
repeat again, it is inconceivable that the AIBA would deny a
final opportunity to India’s Mary Kom to participate in what
would be her final major International tournament and more so as
she has ‘put her body on the line’ in promoting the women’s
sport for so many years. Surely if anyone deserved a ‘wildcard’
or a place via the Tripartite Invitational program, Mary Kom
Mary will go down in the annals
of women’s boxing as one of the ‘all time’ greats and has long
been championed by AIBA President Dr Ching-Kuo Wu as one of
those who with Great Britain’s Nicola Adams and Ireland’s Katie
Taylor have done more than most to ensure the worldwide
acceptance of women in the ring at a time when many of the male
dominated National Federations strongly opposed it, indeed many
Of course there have been many other women and quite a few men
who have supported the women’s sport, in many countries, some of
them have been or still are long serving members of the AIBA
women’s commissions – or coaches - who have fought long and hard
for the cause.
Yet, WBAN learns from our worldwide network of sources that the
AIBA’s predominantly male dominated Executive are indeed set to
deny Mary Kom that final chance in Rio. One cannot believe that
the AIBA and their Olympic ‘masters’ the International Olympic
Committee (who oversee the allocation of the final three slots)
would be willing partners in such a decision. If so the I.O.C
Executive (which also includes President Wu) should be duly
Perhaps the AIBA will tell us who exactly are the men or women
who make and endorse the decisions for the 51kg,60kg and 75kg
slots in Rio? Yes of course we are full aware that any
nominations for these slots go via the International Olympic
Committee and yes we are also fully aware of the laid down
guidelines though we do not believe they are truly transparent
and not generally understood by many in their own Federations
let alone by boxers, coaches or their families?
That said we make a final plea to the powers that be on Mary
Kom’s behalf. We would stress that neither the Manipuri boxer or
anyone connected with Indian boxing has in any way influenced us
in making this plea. We do so for one of two reasons only – one
she deserves the slot – and two the AIBA should show its loyalty
to one of the sport’s greatest servants who has always been
loyal to them. What price loyalty?
She would be the obvious choice at 51kg because she is a bronze
medallist from London 2012 , a 5-time world champion, a national
hero in her native land, a people’s champion, a good
spokesperson, and remains very competitive this year. She has
sacrificed seeing her young sons for months on end over the
years all in the cause of the AIBA and her country.
Let us not forget that this shocking situation is because AIBA
only allows 12 women per Olympic category. Twelve is bad because
it isn’t a full bracket — some boxers get a bye, and then only
have to win one match to get to medal rounds. How can that be
For the future of the sport, twelve is also bad because we are
leaving out – and thus losing - a lot of talent. Another reason
that twelve is unfair and is bad is that some of the men’s
weights have an excess of men (a lot of men won’t really be
competitive), and those athlete quotas could go to women! These
indeed are men mainly albeit not exclusively based in countries
where the women’s sport has not progressed very much if at all
due to the intransigence of local officials and their influence.
Nonetheless if indeed the AIBA and the IOC do NOT include Mary
Kom who should these three slots go to? Rumours have been rife
in the media and online for weeks now – another indictment of
the AIBA’s lack of transparency.
At all times they should be ‘upfront’ and long before now should
have provided a list of who is eligible and on the ‘short list.
The Olympic Games is the SHOWCASE for boxing and that means
always having the top boxers there. ALL Confederations should
have held their qualifying tournaments simultaneously – this has
not been the case and thus boxers from some continents have
qualified weeks before those from say Europe. How Can that be
fair especially when the European tournament was postponed
whilst the AIBA considered further options having initially
planned for Istanbul then moved it to Samsun (security concerns)
but with little or no time to fully recover before the final
qualifier in Kazakhstan.
From sources in Panama we believe that at 75kg Athena Bylon has
been allocated a slot in Rio at 75kg. We’d fully support that as
she has been in great form in recent years and does deserve this
chance to upset such as Claressa Shields, Nouchka Fontijn,
Savannah Marshall and Ariane Fortin. What about the 51kg and
60kg slots then?
Our view would be that the following should be seriously
considered and included on any ‘short list’. They have all
competed in the recent AIBA World Championships.
51kg — Mary Kom, (India), Nadia Barrage Villarroel (Bolivia),
Anusha Koddithuwakku (Sri Lanka) and Reem Al-Mriheel (Jordan)
60kg — Valerian Spicer (Dominica ), Saraswati Rana (Nepal),
Vidusika Mohotti (Sri Lanka) and Lina Al-Fayyad (Jordan)
Do YOU believe that the AIBA system is truly transparent and
understood by all? Do you believe that the AIBA is right to only
include three women’s weights for women in Rio 2016 as in London
2012 rather than a minimum of five? Do YOU believe that India’s
Mary Kom, herself an AIBA Ambassador for 2012 and 2016 has been
Do YOU believe that the AIBA should reveal who makes the final
choices recommended to the IOC? Is it President Wu or a special
Committee and if the latter who are the members of that
Committee and who and when were they elected? Why has the AIBA
not included places for women Pros in Rio as they have for men?
Is that not discrimination?
Any boxing association would we feel sure be delighted to hear
the views of its boxers, coaches or clubs DIRECTLY. It is after
all the boxers who put their bodies on the line and without them
boxing in any of its formats would not survive. Why only listen
to one’s own National Federations, many of whom themselves say
they do not regularly hear from their own association let alone
the International Boxing Association.
You can of course tell us here on WBAN on any of our Social
Media channels or by email at :
firstname.lastname@example.org OR of course feel free to copy us in
if you share your views with AIBA President CK Wu and his
Executive via : email@example.com