TOKYO, July 23 (Reuters) – Transparency and gender equality are boxing strengths at the Tokyo Olympics as the sport aims to turn the page on the acrimonious 2016 Games, which were marred by lingering conflict on the quality of judgments.
A task force is tasked with organizing the Tokyo competition in place of the International Boxing Association (AIBA), which was suspended in 2019 by the International Olympic Committee and stripped of any involvement in the Tokyo Games on a chain of governance, funding and issues.
New transparency measures were introduced under the boxing task force leader Morinari Watanabe, such as the display of each judge’s score at the end of each round and independent third-party supervision, verification and selection. judges and referees.
New Zealander David Nyika, who will compete in the heavy men’s category in Tokyo, said that with the issue of unfair judgments resolved, boxers would have one less thing to worry about when they step into the ring.
“I know I’m not the only athlete who thinks he’s been the victim of unfair judgment,” he told reporters.
“This is a big step in the right direction and I really hope that these changes that are being implemented can stay strong and continue to be a part of our sport which is so old and so special to so many different cultures.”
Irish boxer Kellie Harrington believes that announcing the score after each round will not only improve transparency, but also spice up a fight, making it more interesting for those watching.
âThe fact that when you come back now and know if you’re up or down it helps because you can turn the fight around,â Harrington said.
“A fight can always change after a round, the fight can always change after a point, so it helps a lot to get those scores round by round, and everyone is thankful for a read and that makes boxing pretty tasty.”
Boxing begins on Saturday and continues until the last day of the Games, August 8, and will take place at Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo, considered the spiritual home of Japan’s national sport – sumo wrestling. The center was recently used as a COVID-19 vaccination center.
Tokyo 2020 organizers said on Friday that three more athletes had tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total to 11 since the start of the month. Read more
When asked if the athletes at the Games Village are worried, Harrington said she doesn’t worry about infections and sticks to protocols, focusing on preparing for the competition.
Harrington praised the task force for increasing the women’s weight divisions in Tokyo to five against three in Rio de Janeiro, ensuring greater participation from her fellow pugilists. Men’s weight divisions have been reduced to eight from 10.
“It opens the door for a lot more female athletes who thought they didn’t have the chance to attend one of the big Games and here they are now,” added the 31-year-old.
“And I’m here too. So it’s just fantastic.”
Report by Sudipto Ganguly; Editing by Karishma Singh
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