May 28, 2005

In the Red Corner, Ladies and Gentlemen …

I found an odd little story at this afternoon. Here's the president of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA), Anwar Chowdry:

The IOC and AIBA in principle have agreed to induct women boxing in the next Olympiad, though there are still many details to be worked out, which would be done in October or December this year, when we will summon the AIBA executive committee meeting and finalise all these crucial issues.

Sounds like boxing is worried about those gender equity criteria, and perhaps its inclusion in the Olympic programme. But they're finding out that Jacques Rogge is serious about the limits on the number of participants:

… the major hitch in introducing the women's categories was that the IOC chief wanted to compromise with the number of weight categories in men's event so that berths for the women's boxers could be accommodated. The IOC chief has proposed that they reduce few weight categories in men's while he would increase some quota of boxing to include female boxing as they (IOC) had fixed the limit of 10500 athletes in the next Olympic Games.

That's how it's going for everybody; you can make yourself more TV-friendly, and you can improve your gender equity, but you can't add any athletes. You decide what you're going to cut out.

It will be interesting to see how this turns out, since the "agreement in principle" doesn't seem to be accompanied by an agreement in practice; the article goes on to explain that the AIBA isn't too keen on cutting out any men's weight classes. It wouldn't surprise me if this whole effort turned out to be mostly for show on the AIBA's part. Their agreement in principle might swing them a few more votes in July; and once they are safely on the Olympic programme, they'll claim that they couldn't make a deal with the IOC, so women's boxing will have to wait.

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