The respected British website “InsideTheGames.biz” has an exclusive interview with AIBA President C.K.Wu on the subject of “skirts or shorts” – no need to repeat here the views of so many of the world’s leading boxers so let’s simply report what Dr Wu had to say on the subject (albeit almost identical to what the AIBA’s Director of Communications, Sebastien Gillot said yesterday at a media briefing here):
“”I would really like to take this opportunity to reassure people on the issue of women’s uniform because a lot of unnecessary concern has developed around this particular issue,” Wu told ‘ insidethegames’
“AIBA conducted a study on uniforms for boxers, particularly on uniforms for women boxers, to see what is preferred by the various federations and most importantly by the boxers themselves.
“The research involves us seeking a consensus from the worldwide boxing family and the wider public for reference purposes.
“There are a variety of different opinions, particularly from the boxers, because some women prefer fighting in shorts and some prefer fighting in skirts.
“It is quite divided.
“AIBA plans to call an AIBA Technical and Rules Commission meeting in January 2012 to discuss the issue.
“The AIBA Women’s Commission will also be heavily involved in the discussions.
“They will then offer recommendations to the AIBA Executive Committee based on the information collected from the research before a final decision is made and announced publicly to the world.
“At this point in time, no decision has been made at all.
“But I must say that the most likely decision is that the uniform will be optional for women.
“Some like skirts and some don’t like skirts so I think we should keep the freedom for the athletes.
“But that is my opinion so it is unofficial at the moment because we must respect the Technical and Rules Commission and wait for what they decide from their research at their official meeting in January.
“It has become a very hot issue in the media but some of the reports are wrong because we have never made skirts compulsory or mandatory for women at all.
“Some people have maybe overreacted a little bit but I can confirm to them that AIBA has not made any final decision on the issue; that will come in January and be made public to all.”
Dr Wu’s position has clearly softened from his original comments in September 2010 when this issue first arose at the World Championships in Barbados.
It is in this writer’s view “highly unlikely” that the Technical and Rules Commission will over rule their President. Equally there will be many in the boxing community who will seriously query Dr Wu’s statement that among the boxers “it is quite divided”.
I certainly could see no evidence of that though I would agree that a few certainly have no objections among them the great Canadian Middleweight World Champion, Mary Spencer who is equally happy wearing a ‘long skirt or shorts’ .
Clearly common sense must prevail and undoubtedly Dr Wu and his AIBA colleagues have been “seriously shocked” at the huge numbers of complaints received or comments published on websites and in the worldwide media.
Here again at the Excel Centre, the overwhelming majority were opposed to any mandatory change from shorts to skirts. Not one boxer wore a skirt in any of the bouts I saw in this event to date , though neither Poland nor Romania was represented.
Perhaps we can now concentrate on the boxing………