Boxers from the Americas, including Jamaica’s team of eight competitors, suffered a major setback last Wednesday when the Local Organisation Committee in Argentina announced a cancellation of the qualifying tournament for the Tokyo Olympics.
This was scheduled to start in Buenos Aires, on March 23. The cancellation came about, because the government of Argentina announced severe restrictions on all international events that day, as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.
The qualifying tournament was scheduled to run from March 23 to April 4, and would have provided boxers from North, South and Central America and the
Caribbean, the opportunity to qualify for the Olympic Games, which are scheduled to run from July 24 to August 9. The coronavirus outbreak has created havoc in sporting and other circles, and the Boxing Task Force that has been set up by the International Olympic Committee to run boxing in Tokyo, announced yesterday, that they are now “searching for the appropriate solution for this unexpected situation and will immediately inform the National Olympic Committees, National federations and other impacted parties as soon as further information is available.”
Five qualifying tournaments have been set up to allow boxers from the various continents to qualify for the Olympics, and 49 places, 33 for men and 16 for women have been made available for boxers from the Americas. The first tournament for Asia and Oceana was scheduled for Wuhan, China, from February 3 to 14 but was cancelled because of the outbreak of the coronavirus there. It was re-scheduled and held in Amman, Jordan, from March 3 to 11. The qualifying tournament for Africa ran from February 20 to 29 in Dakar and that for Europe is scheduled for March 14 to 24 in London. There is also one final qualifying tournament scheduled for Paris, France, from May 13-20 in which boxers from all the continents can compete.
Although disappointed at the cancellation of the Argentine tournament, the Jamaica delegation of seven males and one female will continue their training schedules, in the hope that a new date and venue will be set soon. Word from other Caribbean territories who are also affected, is that they too will continue to train, while they wait on word from the Boxing Task Force as to the next step.