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The field is set for Rio 2016 - almost!
by Michael O'Neill
June 8, 2016
     
   
   

(JUNE 8)  Following the 2016 AIBA Women’s World championships at the Barys Arena in Astana last month we now know the names of the majority of boxers who will be representing their countries in Rio in August.

After the second, and final, qualifying event for women boxers taking place in Astana, 33 Olympians are known, and only three remain to be determined.

The 33 known qualified women boxers are as follows in no particular order:

51kg - Nicola Adams (GBR), Zhaina Shekerbekova (KAZ), Peamwilai Laopeam (THA), Sarah Ourahmoune (FRA), Mandy Bujold (CAN), Ingrid Valencia (COL), Zohra Ez-Zahraoui (MAR), Cancan Ren (CHN), Yodgoroy Mirzaeva (UZB), Tatyana Kob (UKR), and Stanimira Petrov (BUL).

60kg — Estelle Mossely (FRA), Anastasia Beliakova (RUS), Katie Taylor (IRL), Mira Potkonen (FIN), Irma Testa (ITA), Yana Alexeyevna (AZE), Mikaela Mayer (USA), Adriana Dos Santos Araujo (BRA), Hasnaa Lachgar (MAR), Shelley Watts (AUS), and Junhua Yin (CHN).

75kg — Claressa Shields (USA), Nouchka Fontijn (NED), Nine-Chin Chen (TPE), Savannah Marshall (GBR), Iaroslava Iakushina (RUS), Anna Laurell Nash (SWE), Daria Shakimova (KAZ), Qian Li (CHN), Khadija Mardi (MAR), Ariane Fortin (CAN), and Andreia Bandeira (BRA).

The final boxer to complete the roster for each of the three categories of 12 athletes are invited by the Tripartite Commission of the International Olympic Committee. Those IOC invitations are expected to be announced next month.

WBAN explains Tripartite Commission guidelines by IOC and AIBA for 2016.

Several months ago, the IOC’s Tripartite Commission invited specific countries to submit names to be considered for a Tripartite Commission Invitation Place. The only countries eligible to submit names are those who have had very few Olympians in past Games, because one goal of the Olympic Games is to enhance universality by encouraging the participation of countries under-represented at the Games.

For Rio a total of 103 National Olympic Committees were invited to submit names of athletes in any of the Olympic sports, such as Boxing. The countries represented all participating continents, including Africa (39), America (20), Asia (20), Europe (9) and Oceania (15).

Each sport has a specific number of qualification spots reserved for Tripartite Commission invitations. In Boxing there are 8 TC spots reserved: 3 for women (one in each category) and 5 for men. Because there are only a total of 12 women Olympic boxers in each weight category, the TC invitation is especially significant.

WBAN analysed the roster of the recent 2016 Women’s World Championships, comparing that list with the list of countries eligible for an IOC TC selection. These boxers would be eligible for an IOC Tripartite Commission invitation:

51kg — Nadia Barrage Villarroel (BOL), Anusha Koddithuwakku (SRI), Reem Al-Mriheel (JOR)

60kg — Valerian Spicer (DMA), Saraswati Rana (NEP), Vidusika Mohotti (SRI), Lina Al-Fayyad (JOR)

75kg — Atheyna Bylon (PAN) and Nilanthi Andaraweera (SRI)

Based on resume, at 75kg Bylon has it cinched as she is a former World Champion. At 60kg Spicer has been consistently improving in top international competition. At 51kg both Villarroel and Koddithuwakku have been active internationally for years. Any of these boxers would seem the logical choice.

The question lingering since Astana is what about other standout, respected, boxers who are not on the Tripartite list? Those left out are victims of AIBA’s decision to have only 12 women boxers in each category. London medalists such as Mary Kom (51kg, IND) and Mavzuna Chorieva (60kg, TJK) would be competitive in Rio, as would be top competitors such as Agnes Alexiusson (60kg, SWE), Alexis Pritchard (60kg, NZL) and Sandra Brugger (60kg, SUI).

Virginia Fuchs (51kg, USA) and Thi Duyen Luu (60kg, VIE) have also emerged as up-and-comers on the world stage. The talent left out of Rio is further proof that AIBA’s Olympic system requires IMMEDIATE revision. The world’s women boxers deserve a full tournament of 16 boxers, in a minimum of seven weight categories. As for Rio 2016, a 51kg without AIBA Ambassador, Mary Kom makes no sense at all. After so many years of service to the sport and supporting AIBA through good days and bad, that is the very least she deserves.

AIBA promises that Tokyo 2020 will have five women’s weights, while also suggesting that the number of women boxers in each of those five categories could be as low as eight, to keep the number of women boxers at or under a total of 40. This, while the men enjoy 250 boxers in a total of 10 categories in Rio. Despite the fact that the IOC has made clear they desire all sports achieve 50% female participation in future Olympic Games. Quite frankly this is a disgrace, to put it mildly. How can the IOC allow the AIBA to ‘get away’ with this?

Should they agree with the AIBA, then the IOC by so agreeing will simply be endorsing a morally wrong decision – after all why do they say they want 50% female participation in one breath then endorse an AIBA decision that would have the opposite effect?

WBAN will watch AIBA in the coming weeks to see which athletes will be given a Tripartite Commission invitation. For those boxers, and their countries, their Olympic dream lives. All other athletes can only dream of Olympic Games in Tokyo.

 
     
     
   
 
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