IOC’s recommendation puts boxers in a spot over Olympic qualification

The IOC Executive Board recommended that the recognition to International Boxing Association (AIBA) be suspended and a new calendar for Olympic qualifying events from January to May 2020 be prepared.

Former World Championships bronze medallist Shiva Thapa said he was shocked by IOC Executive Board's recommendation to keep the qualifying events between January and May 2020.   -  Special Arrangement

Top boxers of the country are confused about the Olympic qualification process following the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board’s (EB) recommendation to prepare a new calendar for Olympic qualifying events from January to May 2020.

The IOC EB on Wednesday recommended that the recognition to International Boxing Association (AIBA) be suspended. The decision was based on the enquiry committee report due to issues relating to finance, governance, ethics and refereeing and judging.

Consequently, the IOC EB recommended to let boxing maintain its place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics but suggested that the Olympic competitions and the qualifying events should be organised on the guidelines established by it.

The IOC EB's decision to develop a calendar for the Olympic qualifiers, which would take place between January and May next year, has practically rendered the World boxing championships – which usually served as a major qualifying event – redundant.

“The World championships not being a qualifying event is the main shock. The question is how many qualifiers can be held within this short period (January 2020 - May 2020) — Santiago Nieva, India’s Chief performance director for boxing

The World championships for men and women are scheduled to be held in Russia in September and October respectively.

“I am surprised and shocked. We were all aiming to qualify for the Olympics from the World Championships. Now, we will have to wait. It does not change my plans though,” said former World championships bronze medallist Shiva Thapa.

Asian Games gold medallist Amit Panghal said, “It would have been easy had we secured our quota places in advance. Our boxers are in fine form. We would have secured at least four to five quota places (in the Worlds)...But now we will get more competitions and time. It will give chance to assess more boxers.”

In case the IOC Session, to be held in June, confirms the EB recommendations, then “the total athlete quota for the sport of boxing at the Tokyo Olympics would remain at 286 and the total number of eight men’s events and five women’s events would be maintained, as previously approved by the IOC EB on June 9, 2017,” said the Olympic body.

Chief performance director Santiago Nieva said there would be some uncertainty. “The World championships not being a qualifying event is the main shock. The question is how many qualifiers can be held within this short period,” said Santiago.

He expressed doubt whether the World Series of Boxing (WSB) could be a qualifier any more, but sounded confident about professional boxers' participation in the Olympics.