Philippine Olympic Committee president Ricky Vargas heaved a sigh of relief after organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics welcomed a decision by the International Olympic Committee’s recommendation to include boxing at next year’s Olympiad.
The good news came after the IOC executive board recommended last Wednesday that while boxing should keep its place at the Tokyo Games, recognition of the International Amateur Boxing Association should be suspended.
“We must learn from the wisdom of the IOC. I am happy to note that the athletes are protected from the organizational and political issues AIBA faces,” said Vargas, who heads the Association of Boxing Alliances in the Philippines.
AIBA is the world governing body of amateur boxing, and the ABAP is one of its member nations.
“I am also relieved that boxers are allowed to compete and boxing retains its rightful place in the Olympics. It is but fair to them. I only hope that by bringing in a third party to run the Games that the conduct, judging and officiating of the boxing competition will improve,” added Vargas.
According to reports, the recommendations to suspend came after the IOC published a 30-page report following an inquiry into the finances and governance of AIBA which has been in turmoil for years.
The IOC have instead set up a task force, led by IOC member and International Gymnastics Federation head Morinari Watanabe, to organize boxing in Tokyo.
Next month, the membership of the IOC is set to vote in their stand, if it would block the sport’s governing body, AIBA, from organizing bouts at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
The meeting is set during the IOC’s June 24 to 26 annual meeting.
Reports said the AIBA’s finances, governance and the integrity of judging and refereeing have been the focus of a six-month investigation, led by a panel of three IOC members.
The AIBA is at risk of being removed from the Olympics despite wide-ranging reforms since its longtime president C.K. Wu, an IOC member, was forced out in 2017.
AIBA’s president, Gafur Rakhimov has stepped during the probe and while on a United States Treasury Department sanctions list.
Rakhimov has denied links to organized crime in Uzbekistan and accusations of heroin trafficking.
On the local front, officials do not believe that ABAP’s standing with the POC will be affected since boxing will still be held in Tokyo under the care of the of IOC.
As for the coming 30th Southeast Asian Games, the boxing event will go on without a hitch, under the supervision of the Philippine SEA Games Organizing Committee.
“As for SEA Games, it is PHISGOC as the local organizing committee under supervision of the Asian Boxing Confederation which will organize and run boxing. ABAP, by the way, is also a member in good standing of the ASBC,” said POC spokesman and ABAP executive director Ed Picson.
The POC is set to discuss the status of boxing and updates on the ongoing preparations for the coming SEA Games during its regular General Assembly meeting this Monday.
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