ZIMBABWE Olympic Committee (ZOC) has come to the Zimbabwe Boxing Federation (ZBF)’s rescue, offering to pay airfares for three boxers and two coaches when they travel for the final Tokyo Olympic qualifiers.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) boxing taskforce notified federations that due to travel restrictions brought about by Covid-19, they’ve restructured the Tokyo 2020 boxing Olympic qualifying path.
The Zimbabwe boxers’ hopes of participating in final Olympic qualifiers set for June in France were ruined by Covid-19, which forced organisers to cancel the event.
Local boxers that failed to secure an Olympic ticket at the African Boxing Qualification tournament last year, will have to compete in at least three tournaments to score points to improve their rankings.
“As a consequence of prioritising the Continental Olympic Qualifiers and the rescheduling of the European Olympic Qualifier, the final stage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic boxing qualification process has been restructured.
“The final World Olympic Qualifier, scheduled to take place in Paris in June 2021, will not be held. The 53 quota places (32 men and 21 women) planned to be allocated at the final World Olympic Qualifier will now be allocated equally across the four regions (Africa, Americas, Asia/Oceania and Europe) and all the weight categories.
“Following the fundamental principle of universality, one nominal quota (by name) will be allocated to the best ranked athlete not yet qualified per region and per weight category, as per the BTF rankings upon the conclusion of each respective continental event,” reads the IOC boxing taskforce letter.
ZBF yesterday said it was waiting for clearance from the Sports and Recreation Commission (SRC) to send boxers with a potential to qualify for the Tokyo Olympic Games to three regional competitions.
Arvian Mathe, ZBF secretary-general, said plans are in motion for at least four boxers to trade leather in Botswana, Zambia and Mozambique before May.
“The problem we had is that one of our boxers Ndabezihle Phiri, an African flyweight champion, had his qualification for the Olympics nullified when it was decided that they use rankings of up to 2017, which kicked him out of the top three.
“This means he, along with some hopefuls, has to participate in at least three regional tournaments before the final ranking competition to be held in Tanzania in May,” said Mathe.
Some boxers ZBF intends to send for qualifying events include Trade Nkomozabo, Zibusiso Nyoni, Agnes Kwashi, Rudo Maposa and Tendai Tigere.