Lausanne, 15 February 2021 – In the past 10 days, and reflecting the IOC Boxing Task Force (BTF) goals of transparency and putting athletes first, the BTF has consulted all boxing NFs, NOCs, its technical experts, the boxing Athlete Ambassadors and medical experts for their input, to understand the individual situations and considerations for the remaining Olympic boxing qualification events. This has included a review of the current challenges to international travel and related restrictions in many countries, and the resulting impacts on a fair and equitable Olympic qualification process.
The main consensus of the feedbacks received on the remaining boxing Olympic qualification process was as follows:
The BTF met on 12 February 2021 and reinforced the health and safety of the athletes as the key focus, along with prioritising the Continental Olympic Qualifiers. This prioritisation of the continental events:
Therefore, after exploring all possible scenarios, the BTF has decided to restructure the remaining parts of the boxing qualification pathway for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as detailed below.
Completion of continental qualification events
The African and Asian/Oceanian continental qualification events have been completed, and the European qualification event has been partially completed.
European Olympic Qualifier:
The European Olympic Qualifier, initially scheduled to be held in London (GBR) in April 2021, has now been pushed back to June 2021. The location and dates will be confirmed as soon as possible.
Americas Olympic Qualifier:
The Americas Olympic Qualifier has been confirmed to take place in Buenos Aires (ARG) from 10 to 16 May 2021.
Replacement of World Olympic Qualifier with use of BTF rankings
As a consequence of prioritising the Continental Olympic Qualifiers, and the rescheduling of the European Olympic Qualifier, the final stage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic boxing qualification process has been restructured. The final World Olympic Qualifier, scheduled to take place in Paris (FRA) in June 2021, will not be held.
The 53 quota places (32 men and 21 women) planned to be allocated at the final World Olympic Qualifier will now be allocated equally across the four regions (Africa, Americas, Asia/Oceania and Europe) and all the weight categories. Following the fundamental principle of universality, one nominal quota (by name) will be allocated to the best ranked athlete not yet qualified per region and per weight category, as per the BTF rankings upon the conclusion of each respective continental event.
This ensures a new reallocation pathway, which is based on international on-field results recorded over the past four years (2017-2021), including but not limited to the BTF Olympic Qualification Events.
To ensure the utmost transparency and integrity of the allocation process, the BTF rankings were reviewed by an external auditor to ensure that all results have been accounted for accurately and in compliance with the BTF’s “Summary on Ranking & Seeding for the Olympic Boxing Qualifying Events and the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020”.
Athlete Ambassador Mary Kom of India – Olympic bronze medallist (London 2012) and six-time World Champion – added: “I would like to thank the Boxing Task Force for listening to our feedback, and for putting the health and safety of the athletes first in their decision process. BTF events are Olympic qualifiers, we should never forget that. Everybody deserves a fair opportunity to participate and have the appropriate time to recover after a competition and to prepare for the Olympic Games.”
Athlete Ambassador Shelley Watts – a Rio 2016 Olympian and a 2014 Commonwealth Games Champion from Australia – said: “All boxers from all regions should have the same opportunity to prepare, compete and qualify for the games & recover between events. While I feel sorry for the athletes not getting a chance to compete in a Final World qualifier, I 100% support the BTF’s solution to rearrange the qualification pathway to Tokyo 2020 in the best interests of all athletes!”
“This is the best way forward,” continued Athlete Ambassador Lukmon Lawal, London 2012 Olympian and 2011 All Africa Games silver medalist from Nigeria. “The BTF found a way to reorganise the Olympic Qualification path in a transparent manner. The continental qualifiers are protected, and the best boxers in the world will have another chance to qualify for the Games through on-field results accounted in the BTF Ranking.”
2016 Olympic Silver medalist and 2008 World Champ Sarah Ourahmoune, an Athlete Ambassador from France, said: “In my opinion, cancelling the Final World Qualifier and using the BTF World Ranking to distribute the 53 Olympic Quotas is the best option, in today’s context. This ensures that no athlete is excluded from the new qualification pathway to Tokyo 2020. We should not forget how many nations around the world are now facing travel restrictions and quarantine periods that affect boxers’ preparation and ability to compete.”
An updated version of the Tokyo 2020 Qualification System for Boxing – reflecting the aforementioned changes – will be published as soon as possible following the formal approval of the IOC Executive Board, which is expected by the end of February 2021.