USA Boxing’s Statement on the IOC’s Decision to Add Women’s Boxing to the Olympic Docket

(COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – The International Olympic Committee Executive Board announced today that the sport of women’s boxing will be added to the schedule for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. Boxing was previously the only summer sport on the Olympic docket without a female counterpart. “We are thrilled that the IOC Executive Committee has voted to add women’s boxing events to the 2012 Olympic Program. The ‘yes’ vote means that female boxers will now be able to share in the dream of standing on the world’s most prestigious sporting podium,” said USA Boxing Women’s Task Force Chair and AIBA Women’s Commission member Christy Halbert..

“It’s a historic event, marking the first time that all of the summer Olympic sports will have female participants. The Olympic Games, will, from now on, truly showcase the world’s best talent.”

Female boxers will compete at three weights in London, flyweight (106 lbs-112 lbs), lightweight (123 lbs-132 lbs) and middleweight (152 lbs-165 pounds), with 12 boxers boxing in each of three divisions. “The addition of women’s boxing means that we finally have a truly universal Olympic Games,” AIBA President Dr. Chung-Kuo Wu said. “Nevertheless, we will strive to ensure a very successful first Olympic Games for women in London in order that the number of women participating in future Olympic Games may increase.”

Halbert echoes President Wu’s sentiment on the future growth of women’s boxing within the Olympic Games. “With the announcement of only a small amount of weight categories for women, the work toward fairness continues,” Halbert added. “This is a first step toward recognizing that women boxers are an important addition to the Olympic family. The 2012 Olympics will undoubtedly send a strong and inspiring message that all athletes are valued in Olympic sports, regardless of their gender.”

The addition of the 36 female boxers will necessitate the removal of one weight category in men’s competition, meaning there will be only 10 men’s weight classes. “USA Boxing is extremely excited for all of the female boxers across the country that have been training and preparing for this day, but we also realize that it has an unfortunate impact on the men’s program,” commented USA Boxing Acting Executive Director Mike Martino. “This change will require a great deal of planning by the national office with the addition of female boxers and the unfortunate reduction of male boxers who will enjoy the opportunity to compete in the Olympic Games, but we will ensure that all our athletes are prepared for competition at the highest level.”

AIBA petitioned the IOC for the inclusion of women’s boxing prior to both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games following the first-ever Women’s World Championships, which was held in 2001 in Scranton, Pa. According to AIBA, over 120 countries participate in women’s boxing worldwide. The reduction to 10 men’s weight classes is the second cut in weight divisions for the sport in the past decade, following the move from 12 to 11 weight divisions for the addition of women’s wrestling in 2004.

USA Boxing, as the national governing body for Olympic-style boxing, is the United States’ member organization of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC). It is responsible for the selection and management of the United States Olympic Boxing Team, and for the governance and oversight of USA Boxing’s national organization of 38,000 members, 1,400 individual boxing clubs, and 1,600 sanctioned events annually.

Article posted on 12.08.2009

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