POSTED: August 13th 2009

Women's boxing given the Olympic all-clear for London 2012

IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge / Image: IOC/Juilliart
IOC President Dr. Jacques Rogge / Image: IOC/Juilliart

KEIR RADNEDGE / Sports Features Communications

BERLIN: Women's boxing has achieved the most significant breakthrough in its history after being welcomed into the Olympics in time for the next summer Games in London in 2012.

The decision was announced by Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, after a meeting of the IOC's executive committee which considered a string of proposals to amend the 2012 programme.

Most of the requests from other sports were rejected because they would have meant increasing the number of athletes. But boxing's application to add a women's discipline - it had been the only single-sex sport heading for 2012 - was approved.

There is no going back though the inclusion is certain to attract controversial comment. Rogge said: "This is a firm decision which cannot be changed by the IOC [in October]. Women's boxing is a great addition to the Games. It has come on a tremendous amount in the last five years and it was time to include them."

Programme switches

Three women's events will be staged. The current 11 men’s boxing events will be replaced by 10 men’s and three women’s events, representing an additional two boxing events on the programme. Women will fight at flyweight (48-51kg), lightweight (56-60kg) and middleweight (69-75kg). However, and importantly, the total number of boxers remains unchanged.

The decision was welcomed by Sharon Holford, three times the British ABA title winner and European Union champion. She said: “The Olympics is the pinnacle for any amateur sports person so it is fantastic that women boxers have at last been given the opportunity to take part.”

Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe said: “This is a massive boost for women's boxing. It will give female boxers the chance to showcase their talents on the biggest sporting stage. I am sure our British talent will relish the opportunity to compete in front of a home crowd in 2012 and raise the profile of women's boxing at all levels."

Opposition came from Peter McCabe, chief executive of the brain injury association Headway. He said: “We believe all forms of boxing should be banned with immediate effect. Introducing women's boxing at the Olympics will simply serve to glamorise a dangerous and irresponsible sport to a new audience and lead to more young women putting their health at risk."

Event changes

Back in Berlin the IOC executive approve a request from the International Canoe Federation to replace the men’s C2 500m with a women’s K1 200m. The remaining three men’s 500m sprint events will be replaced with 200m sprint events. Modern pentathlon will see a new combined run-shoot format while handball's lower placing play-offs have been scrapped.

Wrestling, swimming and cycling were all told that requests for new events could be considered only as replacement events and if they increased the participation of women without increasing the overall number of athletes.

Rogge reported that he and his executive board are awaiting confirmation from tennis that top players in the singles rankings would compete if a mixed doubles discipline were approved. A decision will be taken at the executive's December meeting in Lausanne.

The six candidates being proposed in Copenhagen to join the IOC are: Richard Peterkin (St Lucia), Prince Philip Frederik of Denmark, Hanu Ahmed Gumel (Nigeria), Habib Abdul Nabi Macki (Oman), Lydia Nsekera (Burundi) and Goran Petersson (Sweden).

Keywords · IOC · International Olympic Committee · London 2012 · women's boxing · Rogge · executive board · new members

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