2020 Olympic organizers working for boxing at Games despite freeze

Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said that while “official level contact” was halted by the International Olympic Committee’s decision, working-level contact with International Boxing Association would continue. (AFP)
Updated 01 December 2018
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2020 Olympic organizers working for boxing at Games despite freeze

  • “We will make efforts in preparation so that we have no delay in responding to the eventual decision which might come to implement the competition (of boxing)”
  • The IOC’s final decision on whether to include boxing in the 2020 program is not expected until next June

TOKYO: The organizers of Tokyo’s 2020 Olympics said Saturday they would continue working to stage a boxing tournament at the games despite a freeze by the International Olympic Committee.
On Friday, the IOC said it was freezing preparations for boxing at the 2020 Games and launched a probe into the sport’s troubled governing body — the International Boxing Association (AIBA).
It said it wanted the sport included in 2020, but warned its inquiry could see boxing excluded.
On Saturday, Tokyo 2020 CEO Toshiro Muto said that while “official level contact” was halted by the IOC’s decision, working-level contact with AIBA would continue.
“Working level contact is allowed, that’s our understanding. So we will liaise, we will keep our collaboration, coordination,” he told reporters after a meeting with the IOC’s executive board in Tokyo.
“We will make efforts in preparation so that we have no delay in responding to the eventual decision which might come to implement the competition (of boxing),” he added.
“Venue preparation will proceed accordingly.”
The IOC’s final decision on whether to include boxing in the 2020 program is not expected until next June, Muto said.
But he sought to reassure athletes that Tokyo would be ready if the IOC permitted a boxing tournament at the Games.
“Regarding the preparations, no worries, that’s what I want to say to the athletes,” he said.
The IOC says it has concerns about the “governance, ethics and financial management” of AIBA, which last month elected as president a controversial Uzbek businessman linked to organized crime by the US Treasury Department — a claim he denies.
Qualifiers for the 2020 boxing tournament have been put on hold, the only sport not to have its qualifiers proved and a step described as “very significant” and possibly unprecedented.
Relations between the IOC and AIBA took a dive at the 2016 Rio Olympics when 36 officials and referees were suspended amid allegations of bout fixing.
Ties were further battered earlier this month when AIBA elected Gafur Rakhimov as leader, who strenuously rejects the charges from the US Treasury Department.
AIBA made a last-ditch bid to persuade the IOC that it had cleaned up its act, issuing a flurry of statements lauding its own efforts on financing and judging.
But while the IOC has acknowledged progress on judging, refereeing and anti-doping, it said there were still a “whole range” of issues on governance.
Boxing has an ancient Olympic tradition and has featured at every modern games since 1904, expect the 1912 Games in Stockholm because Swedish law at the time banned the sport.


Lewis Hamilton tells rivals ‘catch me if you can’

Updated 20 February 2019
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Lewis Hamilton tells rivals ‘catch me if you can’

  • Five-time world champion feeling confident of a sixth crown ahead of new season.
  • Pre-season testing going well in Barcelona.

BARCELONA: Lewis Hamilton has warned his rivals they had better get ready to catch his dust as he is feeling “better than ever” ahead of the season.
The 34-year-old Briton enjoyed a near flawless run to secure his fifth drivers’ title last year. He won 11 of the 21 races to beat Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel with two races to spare, and he expects the Italian marque to once again keep him on his toes.
“Ferrari are very strong,” Hamilton said in Barcelona on the third day of pre-season testing.
“It appears they have a better package than last year, which means it will be a bigger challenge for us.
“In the last few years, Ferrari has looked good from the very beginning so that’s to be expected.”
But he said it would be a mistake to draw any hard and fast conclusions from the evidence thrown up by testing.
“We’ll have a better idea I guess this time next week where we stand but still then we won’t know what fuel loads everybody is on and who is showing their cars and who isn’t.”
Hamilton, with a new two-year deal that will earn him £40 million ($52 million) a season, is buzzing after the winter recess.
“I feel in the best shape that I’ve been in,” he assured his fans, as he embarks on his quest for a sixth championship and record sixth consecutive constructors’ crown for Mercedes.
On a sixth title he shrugged: “I am not even focusing on that. It’s a new season, a new year, a new chapter and we have to approach like it’s our first.
“We’re going for number one, that’s how I approach it.
“But it’s not something that I allow my peers to talk about. It’s not what we are here for to focus on that number.”
He dismissed out of hand any notion of complacency setting in at his all-conquering team.
“We are always driven to do something new and to break boundaries and do stuff that no one else has done before but we are fully aware of the work that it will take to deliver something like that and it’s by no means like ‘yeah we are going for the sixth’ like it’s a relaxed thing.
“It’s not like that.”
Hamilton’s bid for title number six begins at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on March 17.