The International Boxing Association (AIBA) claims its Year of the Caribbean 2018 initiative will take on even greater significance following the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma.
The Caribbean has already been announced as the second region to receive the attention of AIBA’s ground-breaking “Year of” legacy projects, coming after the Year of Africa 2017.
More than 80 people are thought to have been killed as a result of Irma, which mostly strongly affected Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the United States Virgin Islands, among other places.
AIBA believes boxing can become an even greater source of strength, solidarity and hope as the islanders rebuild their lives.
“As well as addressing the psychological trauma caused by this catastrophe and repairing the physical damage done to property on the islands, of equal importance is the strong social fabric of the people,” a statement from the international governing body reads.
AIBA President C K Wu said discussions have started with all Caribbean National Federations to make that sure the body can tailor the Year of Africa 2017 to suit their specific needs across next year.
“The region will recover from this terrible natural catastrophe, but it will take time,” he said.
“Through the Year of the Caribbean we can help with that process and I will make sure our Association remains committed to this.”
Last week, a $1 million (£736,000/€837,000) emergency fund was set up by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to assist Caribbean sporting organisations recover from the impact of Irma.
The fund was announced by IOC President Thomas Bach following an Executive Board meeting in Peru’s capital Lima.
The contribution is being made jointly by the IOC in conjunction with Olympic Solidarity and the Pan American Sports Organization.
They have vowed to contact all affected National Olympic Committees to “find out more” about the situation in their respective countries.
“All our sympathy and thoughts are with the victims and the families who have lost relatives in this natural disaster and with those who have lost their homes and livelihoods,” Bach said.
“The IOC stands ready to help the National Olympic Committees of the affected countries to help them rebuild sports infrastructure that has been destroyed.”
AIBA launched the Year of Africa 2017 – a continent-wide programme that aims to bring education, empowerment and a lasting legacy for boxing in the region – at the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic cycle.
Conceived in collaboration with the African Boxing Confederation and being implemented by the continent’s 54 National Federations, it has a direct reach of more than 750,000.