The Americas and European Olympic qualifying events will go ahead in May and June respectively, although the final world qualifier for the Tokyo Games this summer has been scrapped.
With time running out until the Games begin in Japan in July and only two of the five qualifying tournaments having taken place, the IOC Boxing Task Force (BTF) announced a restructuring of the qualifying programme for the Games on Monday.
The main decision was to scrap the world qualifier, which would have allocated the final 53 quota places for boxers who had failed to gain a place via the four continental qualifiers.
The Americas qualifier, originally scheduled for March and April last year, will go ahead from May 10-16 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the original location.
The European qualifying event, which was suspended after three days in London last March, will go ahead in June. No venue or dates have been announced.
The quota places that would have been decided at the world qualifier will instead be distributed based on world rankings, which will be updated at the end of the Olympic qualifiers, with places going to the highest-ranked boxer from each region in weight division.
The BTF said they spent ten days reviewing the qualification process, trying to find the best system considering the problems with international travel, while allowing all boxers adequate rest and preparation time for the Olympics.
It was decided that a minimum 30 days’ break was needed between the final continental qualifier and a world qualifier, as well as the same gap again between the world qualifier and the Olympics. Because of that, it was felt there would not be enough time to stage the world event, which had been scheduled for Paris.
“This is the best way forward,” said Lukmon Lawal, London 2012 Olympian and 2011 All Africa Games silver medallist from Nigeria. “The BTF found a way to reorganise the Olympic Qualification path in a transparent manner. The continental qualifiers are protected, and the best boxers in the world will have another chance to qualify for the Games through on-field results accounted in the BTF Ranking.”
Sarah Ourahmoune, a 2016 Olympic silver medallist and 2008 world champion from France, said: “In my opinion, cancelling the Final World Qualifier and using the BTF World Ranking to distribute the 53 Olympic Quotas is the best option, in today’s context. This ensures that no athlete is excluded from the new qualification pathway to Tokyo 2020. We should not forget how many nations around the world are now facing travel restrictions and quarantine periods that affect boxers’ preparation and ability to compete.”