Sunday 9 December 2018

Treacy 'deeply concerned' over ongoing row which leaves Ireland's boxers facing Olympic KO

 

Controversial new AIBA president Gafur Rakhimov. Photo: Stanislav Krasilnikov\Getty Images
Controversial new AIBA president Gafur Rakhimov. Photo: Stanislav Krasilnikov\Getty Images

Seán McGoldrick

Ireland'S amateur boxers face the prospect of seeing years of training going to waste following the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to freeze planning for the sport at the Tokyo Games in 2020.

The executive board of the IOC has been in dispute with the AIBA, the sport's world governing body, over their decision to elect controversial Uzbek businessman Gafur Rakhimov - whom the US Treasury allege has links to organised crime - as its new president.

Significantly, though, the IOC didn't shut the door completely on boxing. They have kicked the issue down the road until next June in the hope that under increasing pressure the AIBA will remove Rakhimov. However, judging by the mandate he received at the AIBA Congress, this seems unlikely.

Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy said he was "deeply concerned, but not surprised" by the IOC decision. "The current situation creates great uncertainty for the outstanding athletes within the boxing high performance programme," said Treacy.

A committee chaired by IOC executive board member Nenad Lalovic will oversee an inquiry, which will determine whether the AIBA has made progress on the 'significant concerns' previously outlined by the IOC.

According to the website Inside the Games, IOC sports director Kit McConnell has claimed "the goal was still to have an Olympic tournament in Tokyo 2020" and the IOC would do everything they can to ensure it took place.

The inquiry is due to report its findings to the executive board prior to their meeting in Lausanne next June, just 15 months before the start of the Games. The board has the power to put forward a recommendation but the full membership of the IOC will have the final say on the possible AIBA suspension.

A decision to remove boxing would be a disaster from an Ireland perspective as it's Ireland most successful Olympic sport with 16 medals including two golds.

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