Picson: Abap part of group looking to save boxing’s Olympic stint
Believing in the “soft heart for athletes” of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), a group of 25 countries working to save boxing’s place on the Olympic calendar Summer, an urgent task has culminated with the possibility of the sport being dropped from Paris 2024.
The Common Cause Alliance (CCA), led by Boris van der Vorst of the Dutch boxing federation, includes the Boxing Alliance Association in the Philippines (Abap).
“The CCA’s motto is ‘Keep Olympic Boxing’,” Abap President Ed Picson told the Inquirer on Saturday, after the IOC raised the possibility of boxing being disqualified from the 2024 Paris Games, saying the world body of the Russian-led sport showed that they had “no real interest” in the sport or its athletes.
The International Boxing Association (IBA) has been stripped of the right to participate in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and boxing is not on the original program for the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, pending reforms requested by the IOC.
“We are trying to get the IBA to implement the reforms the IOC wants but so far our pleas have been ignored,” Picson said. “Instead, we were seen as rebels.”
Picson said that while the CCA’s number may seem insignificant when compared to the more than 200 members of the IBA, there are more and more people who agree on the sidelines.
“A lot of countries are willing to support us,” said Picson, the only Asian member of the CCA.
Qualifiers for the Paris 2024 boxing tournament are being held by the IOC but they say concerns regarding the IBA mean they will make further decisions that “may have to include the cancellation of the England for the Olympic Games Paris 2024”.
An IOC spokesman said: “The recent IBA Games have once again shown that the IBA is not really interested in the sport of boxing and its fighters, but only in its own strength.”
Picson revealed that with qualifiers already scheduled for 2023, the CCA will push the IOC to make a decision.
“It would be devastating,” Picson said, “if boxing doesn’t become part of the Olympics.”
“This is one of the original sports of the modern Olympics. It has been part of the Olympics since 1904. And the boxers have really worked hard to qualify for the competition of their dreams. That is why we are confident that the IOC will help find a positive solution, even if it means excluding the IBA from running the event during the Olympics.”
“The IOC has always had a heart for athletes. It has always been an organization that prioritizes athletes,” added the former broadcaster.
The IBA is run by Russian Umar Kremlev with support from Russian energy company Gazprom. An extraordinary IBA congress in September voted against holding a new election, allowing Kremlev to continue as president, after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruled that the candidate Dutchman van der Vorst was wrongfully prevented from standing.
—WITH REUTERS FROM REUTERS
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