Indian boxers set to fight in Wuhan Olympic qualifiers in February
The Wuhan qualifiers will provide an opportunity for the Indian pugilists to make the Olympic cut, according to Indian Boxing Federation.
The Indian boxers will feature in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Asian-Oceania qualifiers that will be held in Wuhan, China from February 3-14, 2020. According to the Indian Boxing Federation (IBF), the Wuhan qualifiers will provide an opportunity for the Indian pugilists to make the Olympic cut. Even if our pugilists are unable to qualify for the Wuhan event, the boxers will get a second chance to make it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
It may be recalled that the Olympic qualifiers will be held under the supervision of the Olympic Boxing Task Force, a body created by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) this year after the International Boxing Association (AIBA) was suspended for engaging in various wrongdoings. According to the BFI, besides the Asia-Oceania Olympic qualifiers, the Olympic Boxing Task Force will conduct three other continental Olympic qualifiers – Africa, Europe, and America. The African Olympic qualifiers will be held in Dakar, Senegal from February 20-29, 2020, while the Europe Olympic qualifiers will be held in London, United Kingdom from March 13-23, 2020. The America Olympic qualifiers will be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina from March 26 to April 3, 2020. Boxing at the Tokyo Olympic will feature eight men's weight classes: Flyweight (52-kg), Featherweight (57-kg), Lightweight (63-kg), Welterweight (69-kg), Middleweight (75-kg), Light Heavyweight (81-kg), Heavyweight (91-kg) and Super Heavyweight (+91kg); the boxing competition will feature five women weight classes: Flyweight (51-kg), Featherweight (57-kg), Lightweight (60-kg), Welterweight (69-kg) and Middleweight (75-kg).
In all, the men’s boxing has 188 qualifying berths up for grabs, while women’s boxing has 100 qualifying spots up for grabs. In each weight category for both men and women, Europe and Asia-Oceania have most qualifying berths, followed by America and Africa. The Indian Boxing Federation (IBF) High-Performance Manager Santiago Nieva had earlier said that any boxer winning a medal at the 2019 World Boxing Championship will earn a direct right to fight in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifiers and won’t have to go through selection trials as is the norm.
One wonders what happens to the aspiring boxers in those weight classes where our boxers win medals at the 2019 World Boxing Championship – it effectively means that their Olympic boxing hopes are shut. Maybe the BFI needs to rethink this and keep open selection trials for the Olympics qualifiers so that no boxer feels being deprived of a shot at the Tokyo Olympics. “It makes sense to have all boxers feature in the selection trials and not give direct entries to world championship medallists. I say this because the world championship will be held in September, while the Olympic qualifiers will be held in February and there is a period gap of five months. So many things are at play – form, injury, etc. I believe the best way forward is to have open trials irrespective of whether anyone has won medals or not,” said a former international boxer, pleading anonymity.