Boxing: AIBA asks IOC to retain 10 men's divisions at 2020 Olympics
By Poonam Mehra
New Delhi, Feb 15 (PTI) The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has requested the IOC to retain all 10 men's weight categories in the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, suggesting the sparsely-contested women's competition should have just one bronze medal on offer to accommodate the men.
The IOC has called for reduction of 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.
"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 has said in a proposal to the IOC which is in possession of PTI.
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.
"We are also recommending that only one bronze medal per women's weight category be awarded. It will result in 5 bronze medal finals which is an addition of 5 bouts and does eliminate the opportunity for a boxer to win a medal by only winning 1 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.
"AIBA is concerned that the decrease in Olympic weight categories from 10 to 8 will have a negative impact on the popularity of our sport throughout the world," the world body said.
"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 AIBA said it had the support of all the national federations in its 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 5 Women's weight categories with signed statements," it stated