Joe Ward’s dream of Olympic Gold lies in ruins this morning following yesterday’s controversial defeat in Trabzon and the subsequent failure of the IABA’s though as SportsNewsIreland has already reported there is a slim chance that he could still appear in London 2012.
The International Olympic Council (I.O.C) allows sports to nominate athletes for “Tripartite Commission” of which there are some 19 eligible via the system to be divided by continent. One such place in boxing is still available to European boxers. Whilst the official deadline was 16 January the authorities will make final decisions known to the respective governing bodies between 1 May and 9 July 2012 and they can, it is understood, in exceptional circumstances consider such applications made since the 16 January deadline expired.
Many factors are considered when such places are being decided by the Tripartite Commission. In the past – and indeed also in London 2012 – many of the 19 boxing places available will go to athletes from countries where the sport is in its infancy, in an effort to help promote sports in developing countries.
It is quite likely for example, that among the boxers will be 17-year-old Sadaf Rahimi, a leading Afghanistan boxer who has trained under horrific conditions in Kabul and who has greatly impressed the boxing authorities with her perseverance against threats from the Taliban and those huge numbers who are against women’s boxing in that country. No official word from the AIBA on her appointment but it will be a major surprise if she is not included.
So yes Joe Ward does have a chance but there will also be many other boxers whose will be supported by their governing bodies and in Ireland’s case, any such requests will need to be with the blessing of the Olympic Council of Ireland. Whether or not, Ireland will apply for such a place for Ward will be decided shortly but at this moment in time, no one will be foolish enough to suggest that he is a certainty for the last European place.
The world of amateur boxing is a very political one – there are protocols to be followed, whether one likes them or not and if such an application is made then there will need to be a very strong case made by the IABA with the approval of the OCI. At the moment though let’s just say that if the IABA and Billy Walsh do succeed it will be a ‘great result’ for the odds are against them at this time. Diplomacy will be all important as will the input of OCI President, Pat Hickey a much respected figure within the Olympic movement.
The decisions will be taken between 1 May and 9 July as some of the “qualifying events” in other conetinents are later than the European ones