Monday 19 November 2018

Expulsion from Olympics would be devastating - Lee

 

'The former Olympian is hopeful that the current standoff between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Boxing Association (AIBA) can be sorted.' Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile
'The former Olympian is hopeful that the current standoff between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Boxing Association (AIBA) can be sorted.' Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Bernard O'Neill

Limerick southpaw Andy Lee believes that boxing's expulsion from the Olympic Games would be devastating for Irish sport.

The former Olympian is hopeful that the current standoff between the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Boxing Association (AIBA) can be sorted. Uzbekistan's Gafur Rakhimov was elected AIBA president in Moscow last Saturday after beating Kazakhstan's Serik Konakbayev by a wide margin.

Rakhimov has been cited by the US Department of the Treasury as one of Uzbekistan's leading crime bosses. He denies any criminality.

"I think it would be devastating for Ireland and also for the boxers themselves," said Lee, when asked about the current situation.

"There's a lot of young kids working hard and that's their dream to go to the Olympics. Hopefully, it won't come to boxing being banned."

The IOC had warned that if Rakhimov was elected that the sport's Olympic status would be under threat, although they have since softened their stance.

It's understood that the influential Russian Federation backed Rakhimov in Moscow. The AIBA awarded Russia the men's and women's World Championships in Sochi and Siberia next year. Both tournaments are very likely to be Tokyo 2020 qualifiers.

Irish Independent

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