BOXING

Retain all men’s divisions, award only one bronze to women: World boxing body’s proposal to IOC

The International Olympic Committee had previously called for a reduction of men’s weight categories from 10 to eight for the Tokyo Olympics.

The world boxing body has requested the International Olympic Committee to retain all 10 men’s weight categories in the 2020 Tokyo Games at the expense of awarding only one bronze medal to women in all categories.

The IOC had called for a reduction in the men’s weight categories from 10 to eight in order to ensure five women’s divisions in the 2020 Games, pushing forward its agenda of greater gender parity at the marquee event.

Currently, there are three women’s categories (51kg, 60kg and 75kg) being competed at the quadrennial extravaganza.

The IOC is keen to ensure parity without increasing the medals on offer, which is one gold, a silver and two bronze in every category, currently totalled at 52.

However, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has suggested that the women’s competition can have just one bronze medal on offer instead of two, to accommodate the men’s categories.

“AIBA is officially requesting the IOC to accept our proposal to maintain the current 10 weight categories and reduce the number of men boxers in each weight category,” the AIBA said in a proposal to the IOC.

“We are also recommending that only one bronze medal per women’s weight category be awarded. It will result in five bronze medal finals, which is an addition of five bouts and does eliminate the opportunity for a boxer to win a medal by only winning one bout,” it added.

“The AIBA, while happy with the expansion of women’s boxing at the Olympics, has reiterated that reducing men’s competition is not acceptable to it, even though it is willing to consider smaller draws in all weight categories.”

The AIBA is concerned that the reduction in Olympic weight categories from 10 to eight will have a negative impact on the popularity of our sport throughout the world. “The AIBA Executive Committee with support of the National Federations must protect the safety of our boxers and maintain the 10 men’s Olympic weight categories,” it added.

AIBA reasoned that the women’s draw will be low on competition given that not enough countries have a robust system to throw up decent challengers. “There are many countries in many continents that have very low women’s participation in boxing and as a result, we will compromise the quality of boxing and decrease the health and safety of women boxers as there is a great possibility for boxers to be over-matched,” the AIBA stated.

The apex boxing body said it had the support of all the national federations in it’s demand to retain the men’s competition as it was at the 2016 Rio Games. “National federations unanimously supported our recommendations for the 10 men’s weight categories and five women’s weight categories with signed statements,” it stated.

(With inputs from PTI)

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