Tuesday, September 22, 2020

BoBA optimistic as AIBA awaits IOC decision on Boxing’s Olympic future

BY PATIENCE LEPHOGOLE

As with other boxing associations across the world, Botswana Boxing Association (BoBA) will await with bated breath the outcome of the International Olympics Committee (IOC)’s decision on the future of boxing’s inclusion in the Olympic Games.

The sport risks being ousted from the Olympic games for failure to adhere to the Olympic ideals.

Speaking on the matter, BoBA Secretary General Lefiri Moremi said “some of the areas of concern which have been habitual include anti-doping, refereeing integrity, governance and financial aspects.”

According to international media reports, the situation was allegedly inflamed by the election of controversial Uzbek businessman Gafur Rakhimov as the AIBA president early this month.

While the decision on boxing’s future participation will be taken at the IOC Executive Commission meeting in Tokyo next month, Moremi said there is still optimism that the sport will be part of the Olympics.

He echoed AIBA sentiments that a lot of progress has been made to address some of the concerns that made the sport to be on the verge of being ousted from the games, more especially on issues of anti-doping and refereeing integrity.

To curb or reduce challenges which have been a barrier to boxing, AIBA has concluded that it will have five referees, train more officials to have a bigger pool of trained officials.

Moremi said “They have added a protest system into the programme which will take place beginning of next year. 

“This protest system will allow the boxers and coaches to protest if they feel that the officiating was way off the mark. It is to ensure that in the worst case scenario if a bout is clearly gone to a wrong side, there will be a method to correct that,” it had been highlighted.

On the issue of the election of the AIBA president, Moremi said that AIBA had highlighted to them that an individual will not interfere with the sport; hence they will make a decision not based on personal feuds but rather on the interest of athletes. He said “This has nothing to do with one person and the person’s interest will not be above boxing.”
The BoBA Secretary General concurred with AIBA president Rakhimov, saying ‘the sport had made improvement on several aspects as sought by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).”

Asked about the report submitted by the AIBA to the IOC ahead of the Olympic umbrella body’s executive committee meeting in Tokyo next month, Moremi did not divulge anything as ten matter is still to be presented to the IOC.

“The committee will bring a report which shows the progress and developments at AIBA, then a final decision will be taken,” he said.

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