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AIBA criticises IOC for cancellation of Tokyo 2020 world qualifier

Ugandan boxers have brought the country most medals on the international scene. Uganda has one boxer who has qualified for Tokyo, Shadir Musa Bwogi, while the canceling of the Paris qualifiers is a blow to his colleagues. FILE PHOTO

Tokyo, Japan | THE INDEPENDENT | The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has criticised the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for cancelling the final boxing qualifier for Tokyo 2020.

Fifty-three quota places had been due to be available at the World Olympic Qualifier in Paris in June, but the IOC Boxing Task Force – organising the Tokyo 2020 tournament and the qualification events after AIBA’s recognition was suspended by the IOC – scrapped the competition earlier this month because of the coronavirus pandemic.

These places at Tokyo 2020 will instead be assigned based on rankings, with the best-ranked boxer per region, per weight category receiving a berth.

AIBA revealed its concern about the decision in a statement, claiming it would still be possible to hold a qualifying tournament despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We respect the decision of colleagues from the IOC Taskforce; it is important for us to find boxing in the Olympic programme and fulfil the Olympic dream of our athletes,” the statement said.

“However, we believe that it was possible to retain the qualifiers.

“We welcome the health care of our athletes, coaches and officials, this is also our priority in this pandemic situation.

“In this challenging time, AIBA strives to host as many tournaments as possible in compliance with all safety measures.

“Our experience and the experience of our National Federations suggest that it is possible to successfully conduct official competitions during the pandemic, and we would be ready to share this experience.”

The IOC Boxing Task Force said the changes to the qualification system would ensure athletes from all regions have an equal chance to qualify for the Games, but AIBA claimed it would be unfair on young boxers.

“The ranking system, compiled on the basis of key tournaments of past years, does not take into account youth competitions, so young boxers born in 2001-2002 will be deprived of the chance to compete at the Games and fulfil their dream,” AIBA said.

“A qualification tournament would be a more objective way to qualify for the Olympics.

“The situation with the division of quotas by continent is fair and democratic only in theory, however, in practice, it is not so unequivocally.

“All this will greatly reduce the entertainment of the Games and their value in the eyes of the fans.”

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SOURCE: INSIDE THE GAMES

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