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IOC Boxing Task Force cancels world qualifier and moves European event to June


The final world qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics has been scrapped ©Getty Images

The final Olympic boxing qualifier for Tokyo 2020 – a global event which had been due to take place in Paris in June – has been scrapped.

Fifty-three quota places that would have been available at the World Olympic Qualifier will now be assigned based on rankings instead, with the best-ranked boxer per region, per weight category receiving a Tokyo 2020 berth.

The European qualifier – twice postponed, and already moved away from London – will now take place in June, it is hoped, but a venue is yet to be decided. 

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Boxing Task Force (BTF) said the changes to the qualification system ensure athletes from all regions have an equal chance to qualify for the Games.

Argentinian capital Buenos Aires has been confirmed as the destination for the Americas qualifier, from May 10 to 16.

An Asia-Oceania qualifier was held in Jordan last year, while Senegal hosted the African event.

The European event, at London 2012 venue the Copper Box, was called off after three days of competition last March because of the escalating coronavirus crisis.

Athlete recovery times have been increase thanks to the updated qualification system – “reinforcing the BTF’s focus on medical and safety considerations” – and the BTF added that it protects both its rankings and the Tokyo 2020 seeding system.

Boxers from Africa can no longer reach the Olympics through a last-chance world qualifier, and must instead hope to advance thanks to Boxing Task Force rankings ©Getty Images
Boxers from Africa can no longer reach the Olympics through a last-chance world qualifier, and must instead hope to advance thanks to Boxing Task Force rankings ©Getty Images

The BTF rankings at the conclusion of each continental event will be used to distribute the 53 additional quota places – 32 for men and 21 for women.

The Tokyo 2020 boxing tournament is being organised by the BTF after the IOC suspended recognition of the International Boxing Association in May 2019 over long-standing governance, finance and ethics concerns.

Morinari Watanabe, an IOC member from Japan and President of the International Gymnastics Federation, chairs the BTF.

Its ranking have been review by an external auditor to ensure integrity and openness, the BTF added.

The axing of the global qualifier will be a blow especially to boxers from Africa, Asia and Oceania, whose passage to the Olympics is now out of their hands.

However, Mary Kom – one of the BTF’s athlete ambassadors – said: “I would like to thank the Boxing Task Force for listening to our feedback, and for putting the health and safety of the athletes first in their decision process. 

“BTF events are Olympic qualifiers, we should never forget that. 

“Everybody deserves a fair opportunity to participate and have the appropriate time to recover after a competition and to prepare for the Olympic Games.”

Kom, a six-time world champion and London 2012 bronze medalist for India, has already qualified for Tokyo 2020.



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