AIBA: World C’ship ‘very well organised’ by India

AIBA vice-president Edgar Tanner has said India, currently hosting the World Youth Women’s Championship, has been a “first rate” organiser.

Edgar Tanner says the opening ceremony was “the best I have ever attended for a world championship.”   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

The International Boxing Association has voiced its satisfaction at India’s hosting and organising capabilities for a global boxing competition. Its vice-president Edgar Tanner has said India, currently hosting the World Youth Women’s Championship, has been a “first rate” organiser.

The tourney is the first world championship in India after 11 years. It conducted its maiden world championship - for senior women - in 2006.

“India has been a wonderful host. The opening ceremony for these world championships was, by far, the best ceremony that I have ever attended for a world championship. The facilities here have been are first rate and the boxing has been first grade too,” Tanner told PTI in an interview on the sidelines of the championship.

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“This tournament has been very well organised. I won’t suggest anything extra but just to repeat what they have done here,” he added.

India would be hosting the world championship for senior women next year, the dates of which are yet to be finalised. That would be followed by the world championship for senior men in 2021.

Women’s boxing at par with men

Tanner also spoke about the contentious issue of cutting men’s weight divisions in the Olympics to accommodate more women competitors in the 2020 Olympic Games. He insisted that women’s boxing has improved enough to merit an expansion at the biggest stage. “Certainly, women’s boxing here has shown that it is as competitive as the men’s competition. I have followed women’s boxing for a long time, it was nowhere near men’s to start with but now it has come at par,” he said.

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Tanner, however, evaded queries on which two men’s categories could be dropped from the Tokyo 2020 roster. But he did insist that the AIBA is continuing its discussions with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ensure that male boxers are not adversely affected. “Things are still at a talking stage right now with the IOC. Probably the problem is that the IOC is refusing to increase the number of boxers and gold medals for boxing in the Olympics. The IOC wants to keep it at 13. They won’t increase the quota for any sport,” he said.

“The IOC wants the men’s and women’s events to be equal at the 2024 Games in both the number of boxers and medals. But I don’t know how you can do that and get equal gold medals out of 13,” he added.

Tanner said a more workable solution to the current conundrum is to increase the participation in the Games. “I think at some stage, the IOC needs to increase the quota for boxers. We must accept what has been decided for 2020, which is five for women and eight for men. We are discussing the weight categories with the IOC and let’s see how it goes. I don’t want to comment on the specific categories because that might change in due course of discussions,” he said.