In a major initiative to give boxers a sustainable voice and representation in their sport, the Olympic Boxing Task Force (BTF) today launched the Athlete Ambassador programme to engage with boxers around the world in the lead-up to Tokyo 2020 and beyond.
The Athlete Ambassadors group will comprise 10 boxers — one man and one woman from each of the five regions — providing gender balance and global representation.
The 10 will be selected from among the nominations received jointly from National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and National Federations (NFs) between 31 August and 30 September.
The role of the Athlete Ambassadors will be to engage with their fellow athletes directly and through digital and social media channels, share information on the pathway to Tokyo 2020, and gather feedback from the athlete community to provide to the BTF.
“This is a unique opportunity to establish and promote the athlete voice and engagement, both for Tokyo 2020 and to act as a sustainable change in the sport following the Games,” BTF Chair Morinari Watanabe said. “Boxers deserve to have a greater say in their sport. We look forward to hearing their voice and their views to ensure that boxing thrives as a thrilling sport upheld by the highest standards of integrity.”
Criteria for successful candidates will include demonstrating the character necessary to be a credible Ambassador for the sport, as well as being able to communicate effectively in English.
Once appointed, the group will liaise directly with the IOC Athletes’ Commission representative on the BTF (Aya Medany), to give direct input and advice on all areas of Olympic boxing planning.
Athlete Ambassadors will be present at a range of multi-sports events, boxing events and the Olympic qualification events.
The Athlete365 platform will serve as the primary communication and engagement platform between the BTF and the athletes, their entourage and the NFs. There are currently 335 boxing athletes registered on the platform, and approximately 1,500 boxers are expected to compete in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic qualifiers.
Candidates must be nominated jointly by their NOC, NOC Athletes’ Commission and NF. They must have competed at international competitions in the past four years, and must have been born no later than 31 December 2001 (so be at least 18 years of age on 1 January 2020). They must be either an amateur or professional boxer; must not have been involved in any anti-doping or ethics violations; must have a good level of English; and must display the character and personality to engage with fellow boxers.
The Boxing Task Force was created by the IOC Executive Board to deliver the qualification events and the Tokyo 2020 boxing tournament, in collaboration with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee. The Boxing Task Force is supported by a dedicated management team of boxing experts to help run the qualification events and the competitions at the Olympic Games.
The creation of the Boxing Task Force followed the recommendation by the IOC Executive Board on 22 May – approved by the IOC Session on 26 June – that boxing keep its place on the Tokyo 2020 programme, but that IOC recognition of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) should be suspended, and then evaluated after Tokyo 2020.