Lausanne, 15 April 2021 – The IOC Boxing Task Force (BTF) has been monitoring the situation in Argentina and the Americas, ahead of the Boxing Road to Tokyo Americas qualifier scheduled to take place in Buenos Aires (ARG) from 10 to 16 May 2021.
In recent weeks, tighter travel restrictions and lockdowns have been implemented across the region, which have significantly disrupted international travel and pose logistical challenges to teams travelling to and from Buenos Aires, jeopardising their ability to participate in the event.
Given the nature of the event as an Olympic qualifier which will award a large number of direct quota places (49) for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, ensuring fair access and a safe environment for all athletes and officials is of the greatest importance. This is in line with the key principles followed by the BTF, which remains committed to delivering a fair and equitable Olympic qualification process, providing certainty to the athletes and allowing sufficient time for them to prepare for Tokyo 2020, while always prioritising athlete health and safety.
Unfortunately, the current situation in the region does not provide the assurances needed for these principles to be followed at the event scheduled in Buenos Aires.
For this reason, after a thorough assessment and consultations with teams, the BTF’s Athlete Ambassadors and boxing experts plus the Local Organising Committee, the BTF has decided to cancel the event and restructure the Tokyo 2020 qualification pathway for the Americas region.
The BTF studied alternative options, but due to the complexity and nature of the sport of boxing and the large number of international participants (400 people from 80 nations, including technical officials) it was deemed not possible either to change the location, with less than four weeks to go, or to reschedule the event to a later date.
“This is a difficult decision, but it is one that puts boxers first and gives athletes, National Federations and National Olympic Committees certainty ahead of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020,” said the BTF Chair, Mr Morinari Watanabe. “The development of the situation in Argentina and across the region, and the resulting travel restrictions to and from Buenos Aires, could have resulted in athletes and teams not being able to participate in the qualifier, which is a risk that could not be taken.”
The Tokyo 2020 boxing qualification pathway for the Americas region has therefore been restructured in order to reflect the cancellation of the event. The BTF has confirmed the following approach:
An updated version of the Tokyo 2020 Qualification System for boxing – reflecting the aforementioned changes – will be published following formal approval by the IOC Executive Board, which is expected by 7 May.
The Boxing Road to Tokyo European Qualifier is due to resume in Paris (FRA), where the event will be held from 4 to 8 June.