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Tokyo 2020: AIBA rejects plan to replace men's categories to make room for more women

Tokyo 2020: AIBA rejects plan to replace mens categories to make room for more women

Nazrin Mather

Published: 29 Jan 2018 5:27 AM GMT
An attempt to rally against the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision to reduce the number of men's weight categories from 10 to eight for Tokyo 2020 has been made by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) officials. In June 2017, the IOC Executive Board had decided to remove two of the men's boxing events from the Olympic programme in order to make way for two additional female ones. AIBA had been eager to add the extra female events and only sacrifice men's quotas rather than actual medal events. It is AIBA's discretion to propose, exactly which of the men's events will be cut from the programme. At London 2012 and Rio 2016, there were ten men's and three women's categories. As of now, when the Games take place in Tokyo in three years' time, there will be eight men's and five women's divisions. Franco Falcinelli, who stepped down as AIBA's President last Saturday and was replaced by Uzbekistan's Gafur Rakhimov, blamed the organisation's former President C K Wu for the decision. He asserted that the AIBA Executive Committee was unaware of the decision of the IOC, until nearly two months after it was reached, claiming it was Wu's fault. Falcinelli told delegates, "The IOC Executive Board made the decision to remove weight categories from men's boxing competitions from 10 to eight, with two additional women's divisions added." He added, "All AIBA Executive Committee members learned about this decision two months later. It was a total shock to all of us and the Executive Committee decided to reject it.' Franco continued to say, "The IOC decision could create dire consequences when lighter weight boxers compete in a heavyweight category." Image result for franco falcinelli
Source: European Boxing Confederation They stated that their next Executive Board meeting would discuss the future of boxing in the Olympic Games, depending on the report sent by AIBA on January 30. Franco told to the press, "This recurring threat to exclude boxing from the Olympic programme offends our glorious Olympic history, our tradition of a popular sport spread all around the world. Boxing cannot be out on the brink of exclusion from the Olympic programme, because the values of our sport belong to the world history and to the sport history. Due to the incomparable social, cultural, and great political heritage nobody has the right to expel boxing from the Olympic Movement." The IOC was represented at AIBA's Congress last Saturday by Kit McConnell, their sports director, who stated that he welcomed the opportunity to explain the full process behind the decision. He told the Extraordinary Congress that 26 of the 28 summer sports had requested additional events or changes to their existing programme to boost gender equality. Efforts were made to ensure greater youth and an urban feel to new disciplines, as well as boosting gender equality as part of the Agenda 2020. Before being ratified by the IOC Executive Board itself, submissions were proposed by the IOC Programme Commission. It is also assumed that the IOC's discontent at the running of AIBA had partly been behind the IOC Executive Board's decision earlier this year to remove two men's events from the Olympic programme for Tokyo 2020 so as to make way for two additional female ones. Claiming that they supported the addition of two women's categories, AIBA have complained that the reduction of the men's divisions could lead to a loss of interest in the sport worldwide. They also claim that there is not a "sufficient number" of female boxers to justify the decision. AIBA is officially requesting the IOC to maintain the ten men's divisions by reducing the number of boxers in each weight category. For Tokyo 2020 they are requesting five women's categories with 60 boxers and ten men's categories with 226 boxers. It would keep the number of female boxers in each division to 12, rather than a number of 16. AIBA stated that the difference in ability between female boxers could potentially risk the health of the athletes, as well as reduce the quality of the event. Bronze medal matches would take place in the women's event, given the reduced field. Canada's Executive Committee member Pat Fiacco told the press, "AIBA is fully committed to gender equality, as well as our governance. It is our ambition by the 2028 Olympics [in Los Angeles] for women's boxing to be fully equal, which will think is a very aggressive and bold move.' Fiacco added, "At London 2012 we had 250 men in 10 categories, as well as 36 women in three. Meaning there were 13 percent women and 87 percent men. For Tokyo [2020] the proposal for the IOC, not of the AIBA Executive Committee, would be eight men's categories with 206 boxers and for 80 boxers in five women's divisions.' Fiacco continued, 'That is a 122 percent increase, bringing it to 72 percent men and 28 percent women. It is admirable, but we are concerned. We promise we will get there.' Fiacco stated that the IOC Executive Board decision has reduced the chance of several countries earning medals at the Olympic Games. He also revealed that just 20 percent of their members fielded athletes at their most recent Women's World Championships. Fiacco insisted the IOC to allow the Tokyo 2020 tournament be reflective of the number of registered male and female boxers.
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