AIBA, the Amateur sport’s governing body today broke its recent silence on the subject of “skirts” for women boxers in 2012 .
As I reported here last week, the issue was first raised in Barbados in Sept 2010 at the World Championships when a ‘new uniform’ was presented to boxers with the instruction that it was to be introduced at the semi-final stage then less than a day away. Only 14 of the 40 competitors remaining in the competition wore the skirt.
Among those who were completely against the idea were Ireland’s World champion Katie Taylor and her Coach/Dad Peter who said at the time : ”They said to us, ‘You have to wear the skirts.’ I said, ‘Katie’s not wearing that.’ So he says, ‘If you don’t wear them, you can’t box.’ And I said, ‘Okay, so she won’t box.’”. The AIBA later claimed it was only an option albeit that is NOT how it was presented at the time.
As I reported from Rotterdam during the recent European Womens’ Championships, the question arose once more, this time raised by the Polish National Team being ‘forced’ to wear skirts by their country’s boxing association. Among that team’s most senior officials is male coach – Mr Leszek Piotrowski who said :
“By wearing skirts, in my opinion, it gives a good impression, a womanly impression,” – “Wearing shorts is not a good way for women boxers to dress”. One might even think that Mr Piotrowski had the decision forced upon him by his own Association. In fact he is one of only two Male members of the AIBA’s
Women’s Commission, which has caused even greater consternation among the International boxing community. M any of the leading boxers voice the opinion that Mr Piotrowski and the Polish ABA were simply acting on instructions of AIBA. That is NOT the case as SportsNewsIreland reported in our last bulletin since it was a decision taken solely by the P.Z.B in Warsaw, a point also brought to our attention by the AIBA .
Having remained silent, as the subject became a heated topic of conversation in boxing circles and in the worldwide media, AIBA today issued the following statement which basically repeated what they had told SportsNewsIreland when we first covered the story . Today’s statement from its Lausanne HQ reads:
“”AIBA has recently noticed a strong media/press interest on the issue of Boxers’ Uniform for Women. In this regard, AIBA would like to clarify its current position on the matter:
- AIBA has not made any final decision on Boxers’ Uniform for Women
- AIBA plans to call a AIBA Technical and Rules Commission meeting in January 2012 to discuss the issue and to offer recommendations to the AIBA Executive Committee before making its final decision
- At this point in time, AIBA is seeking a consensus from the worldwide Boxing Family and the wider public for reference purposes”.
AIBA’s Director of Communications, Sebastien Gillot also told Reuters : “It’s quite frustrating to see the way in which this news has been going around,” “We are aware that it’s a very sensitive issue.”
One feels sure that the members of the boxing community, male and female in Ireland as with those in UK and indeed Worldwide will ensure that their own associations bring to the AIBA’s attention the outrage which has been caused by the mere suggestion of such a change being introduced before,during or after the Olympics.
Since the AIBA is seeking also the views of not only the ‘worldwide Boxing Family’ but also ‘ the wider public ‘ I am sure they will receive many such indications from interested parties via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or through the IABA pages on Facebook and/or Twitter
This issue needs to be dealt with once and for all on 12 January or very very soon thereafter. Womens Boxing is set to be one of the great successes of London 2012 and if the AIBA should introduce skirts then ironically the sports own Governing body will have dealt a serious hammer blow to the fledgling sport and will also seriously damage not only its own reputation but also be responsible for several of the world’s leading boxers, including Katie Taylor withdrawing from the Olympics. Not for one moment do I believe that was the intention of the AIBA’s President C-K. Wu (who has done much for womens boxing including his considerable support for its inclusion in the Olympics) but that will be the inevitable end result of any such foolish decision and most of these fine athletes will then leave for the Professional boxing circuit.
It is to be hoped that President Wu will give guidance to its Technical and Commission that the original suggestion was ‘misguided’ . Womens Amateur Boxing is NOT Beach Volleyball.