Boxing faces uncertain Olympic future but the world body chief Gafur Rakhimov Wednesday said the sport will remain in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games roster having made improvement on several aspects as sought by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The sport risks ejection from the Olympics after controversial Uzbek businessman Rakhimov was elected AIBA president this month. Whether boxing will be in the 2020 Olympics will be decided at an executive commission meeting of the IOC in Tokyo next month.
Rakhimov’s election has caused consternation at the Olympic movement with the 67-year-old linked to organised crime by the US Treasury Department. He has, however, vehemently denied the allegations. Addressing a press conference after declaring the 10th Women’s World Championships open, Rakhimov said he was confident of boxing’s future as an Olympic sport.
“There is nothing to worry. These (issues) has been happening for many years and we have been correcting them. It has nothing to do with one person and the person’s interest will not be above boxing. Boxing will always be in Olympics,” he said.
“We are doing a lot for the boxers. In the last 10 months at the helm of affairs at the AIBA, we have brought a lot of reforms and improvement. We will continue to give the best for our boxers.”
Asked about the report submitted by the AIBA to the IOC ahead of the Olympic umbrella body’s executive committee meeting in Tokyo next month, Rakhimov said, “The areas of concern were accumulated for many years. These include anti-doping, refereeing integrity, governance and financial aspects.
“This report also combined information from Youth Olympic Games for refereeing which was well welcomed by the IOC as well as anti-doping cases, WADA cases that AIBA is now 100% compliant. AIBA always looks forward to cooperation with the IOC in order to improve any area which we are lacking and which have been of concern by National Olympic Committees.”
On the issue of refereeing controversies, Rakhimov said, “The IOC has advised to retain Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PWC) as the company to oversee or analyse refereeing programmes and structures and to make recommendations. So far, the recommendations have been positive and we will continue working to improve the badly inherited refereeing system from the past.”
AIBA’s Executive Director Tom Virgets said the the world body was working hard on the improvement of refereeing standards.
“AIBA has now changed the process of choosing the referees, judges and the ITOs. Earlier, the president and the Executive Director used to approve these referees and judges, now they have been removed from the process. It is now a process which takes place within the commissions.
“Also we have gone back to five judges from three, we are training more officials to have a bigger pool of trained officials and we intend to increase this number to 200 per cent. We have also added a protest system into the programme which will take place at the start of next year.
“This protest system will allow the boxers and coaches to protest if they feel that the officiating was way off the mark. It is to ensure that in the worse case scenario if a bout is clearly gone to a wrong side, there will be a method to correct that.”
Rakhimov was asked if AIBA was concerned of the Delhi’s dirty air.
“Since the time arrived, I checked if there are any problem. So far none, all are of highest standards,” he said.
On the possibility of India hosting Asian qualifiers for the 2020 Olympics, he said, “India will be among the bidders for hosting the 2020 Olympics Asian qualifiers and I hope India will get the chance.
“This will be the new (AIBA) competition era in India. We are open to India having top competitions and at the same time there are also many other countries who want to host these events.