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Page last updated at 09:12 GMT, Friday, 22 May 2009 10:12 UK

Olympic boost for women's boxing

Katie Taylor, left
Ireland's Katie Taylor, left, would be a favourite for gold in 2012

Women's boxing could feature at the 2012 London Games after International Olympic Committee president Jacque Rogge backed its inclusion.

The sport first appeared in the Games as a demonstration event in 1904, but was then banned for most of the 20th century in many countries.

However, Rogge is supporting plans to stage four women's categories in 2012.

"Conditions are totally different now. The timing is right, because the sport has evolved a lot," he said.

"There is a proposal of the International Boxing Federation on the table, but not yet finalised. That is for four women's categories, and nine men's categories.

"There are currently 11 men's categories, so they would diminish those to nine by reshuffling the weights. And then they would add four new women's categories, which would mean 13 categories in total."

I think it's fantastic news for women's boxing and it'll be a fantastic day if final approval is given

Kevin Hickey - GB Olympic boxing performance director

Rogge, a physician by profession, pointed towards the medical issues that had previously halted the IOC's decision to introduce women's disciplines to boxing.

He said: "They made their first application in 2005. We examined the situation, but at that time they did not have enough universality, and they did not have enough countries.

"And also, from a medical point of view, there was a big discrepancy, in the same weight category, between the skills and the level of the women.

"You would have very sophisticated boxers against very junior boxers, in the same weight category, which in boxing is dangerous.

606: DEBATE

"So we said they'd have to wait a few years - and now we are four years later. We've studied it again with the medical commission of the IOC, and they have said no problem.

"And we are satisfied that there is a far better universality as well."

Ultimately, the decisions whether to include women's boxing in 2012 rests with the IOC executive board, rather than the full IOC Congress, said Rogge.

"That's because it's a discipline within a sport, not a new sport," he said. "The full Congress votes on new sports, but the executive votes on new disciplines within a sport.

"So once the proposal is finalised, it will be decided by the executive board in December."

A spokesman for the International Boxing Association (AIBA) told BBC Sport negotiations on details are still ongoing with the IOC. "We have looked at reducing the men's weight categories to 10 but not nine," he said. "All the same, we are very encouraged by Dr Rogge's words and gives AIBA great hope of receiving some good news from the IOC EB in August.

The sport's inclusion in London would be a boost to Ireland's Katie Taylor, a two-time world champion who would be one of the favourites to win a gold medal if the sport is included on the programme.

Great Britain's Olympic boxing performance director Kevin Hickey, who is also the director of coaching at the Amateur Boxing Association, told the BBC that the news would be a major fillip to women's sport in general.

"I think it's fantastic news for women's boxing and it'll be a fantastic day if final approval is given," he said. "Women's boxing has been very active in the home nations in recent years and this is recognition of that fact, giving them something to aim for.

"Our aspiration is definitely to produce women medal winners, and the exciting thing is that if approval is given there will be young women out there right now who can go to their local club and aim to get into that GB team come 2012."



see also
Women's boxing makes bid for 2012
19 Feb 09 |  Boxing
Women's boxing eyes London 2012
18 Aug 08 |  Boxing


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