GB boxers to boycott women’s world championships over Russia stance | Boxing
Great Britain will not participate in next month’s Women’s World Boxing Championships in India over concerns about the participation of Russian athletes under their national flag.
The International Boxing Association (IBA) has defied guidance from the International Olympic Committee and allowed Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete for their countries despite the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
GB Boxing said the decision to pull out of next month’s event was also sparked by concerns over the future of boxing’s place on the Olympic programme.
“Boxers from the GB Boxing squad will not participate in the forthcoming IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in New Delhi, March 15 to 25, 2023,” a statement from the governing body read. “The decision reflects ongoing concerns about the future of boxing’s place on the Olympic programme and the recent move by IBA to allow boxers from Russia and Belarus to compete under their national flags, which contravenes resolutions passed by the IOC in February and December 2022.
“This has put further distance between the IBA and the Olympic Movement in addition to the significant, longstanding issues over sporting integrity, governance, transparency and financial management which the IOC has asked IBA to address to protect boxing’s place on the Olympic programme.”
GB Boxing said it was reviewing whether a men’s team would participate in their championships in May.
The IOC has suspended recognition of the IBA over governance concerns, and last December said the “drastic change of culture” required at the governing body in order to lift that suspension had not been implemented.
GB Boxing’s move comes at a time when the debate continues to rage over whether Russian and Belarusian athletes should even be permitted to compete as neutrals in Paris.
Government representatives from 36 countries met virtually last Friday to discuss the issue, with the UK’s culture secretary Lucy Frazer chairing the meeting which started with a video address from Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky.
The UK government is now coordinating a collective response to the IOC based on the meeting which is expected to be issued this week. The IOC advised international sports federations to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes from their competitions in the immediate wake of the invasion last February.
Since then, its president, Thomas Bach, has stressed that was a measure designed solely to protect athletes from those countries and the IOC is now exploring a pathway for them to compete under strict conditions of neutrality.
Russia’s gymnastics and wrestling federations said on Tuesday they had been invited to take part in this year’s Asian Games, a move that could pave the way for their athletes to qualify for next year’s Olympics.
The IOC announced last month that athletes from the Russia and Belarus, barred from competing in European qualifiers, might be allowed to earn slots for the 2024 Games through Asian qualifying. Should they qualify, they would compete in Paris as neutral athletes, without their flag or anthem.
“We received an invitation to take part in the Asian Games,” Vasily Titov, head of the Russian gymnastics federation, told Match TV. “We will reply that we are interested, and then they will come up with conditions for our participation.”
In separate comments to the same channel, Mikhail Mamiashvili, president of Russia’s wrestling federation, said it had also received an invitation. “We answered that we are ready to participate according to the set rules,” he said.
Ukraine, which has pledged to launch a campaign against Russia’s participation at the 2024 Games, has threatened to boycott the Olympics should athletes from Russia and Belarus be allowed to compete.