The change in the weight categories in women’s and men’s boxing for the 2020 Olympics Games in Tokyo has been met a mixed reaction from the Indian boxing fraternity. The International Olympic Council has decided to increase weight categories for women and decrease the men’s weight categories for the Tokyo Games.
From previous three categories, women will now compete in five weight categories — 51kg, 57kg, 60kg, 69kg and 75kg — in Tokyo. The two categories have been included to bring gender parity at the Games.
“It is a good decision and gives us a lot of room as far as a shot at medals is concerned. Girls, who were straining themselves to fit into the previous three weight categories can now ease up a bit and make it in their natural weight categories,” chief coach for women Gurbax Singh Sandhu told PTI. “India will definitely benefit from this as women’s boxing is continuing to grow in the country.”
The men’s category will lose two spot and will now have eight categories instead of the previous 10. The IOC is yet to decide on which two men’s categories have to be scrapped.
The cut on men’s category has got a harsh reaction from India’s foreign coach Santiago Nieva. Though he was happy with the growth of women’s boxing, he called the men’s cut as body blow.
“Strictly from the perspective of being the men’s coach, this is a body blow. We don’t yet know which two weight categories are being dropped but imagine if it is a strong one for us,” Nieva said.
“I didn’t expect two weight categories to be dropped, I was hoping they would drop one. But it’s good for women, I am happy they are getting their due. But let’s see how things shape up finally,” he added.
Nieva is a member of the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) coaches commission and will be part of the AIBA meeting which finalises the Tokyo2020 boxing competition.
“The AIBA has a meeting in late July when probably we would know about the men’s categories. The various commissions will give their view on it and that’s how things will be finalised,” he explained.
India have only won two medals — both bronze — in boxing at the Olympic Games. Vijender Singh won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games while MC Mary Kom, a five-time world champion, won the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics. But Mary Kom’s preferred category, 48kg, will not be at the Tokyo Games.
“I can adjust to this. For now I will be competing in the 48kg category because my plan is finalised for the Asian Championships this year and the Commonwealth Games next year. But yes, the IOC has taken a decision and we will have to go by it, so I will make adjustments,” Mary Kom said.