Britain will not compete in India’s World Women’s Boxing Championships next month over concerns about Russian athletes competing under their national flag.
The International Boxing Association (IBA) has defied International Olympic Committee guidelines and is allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete for their country despite the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine.
GB Boxing said the decision to withdraw from next month’s event was also sparked by concerns about the future of boxing’s place on the Olympic programme.
“Boxers from the GB Boxing squad will not participate in the upcoming IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in New Delhi, March 15-25, 2023,” the governing body said in a statement.
“The decision reflects ongoing concerns about the future of boxing’s place on the Olympic program and the recent move by the IBA (the International Boxing Association) to allow boxers from Russia and Belarus to compete under their national flag, which is against resolutions passed by the IOC in February and December 2022.
“This has increased the distance between the IBA and the Olympic Movement, in addition to the important, long-standing issues of sporting integrity, governance, transparency and financial management that the IOC has asked IBA to resolve in order to reclaim boxing’s place in the world. protect the Olympic program. ”
GB Boxing said it was reviewing whether a men’s team would compete in their championships in May.
The IOC suspended the IBA’s recognition over governance concerns, saying last December that the “drastic culture change” required at the governing body to lift that suspension had not been made.
GB Boxing’s move comes at a time when debate is still raging over whether Russian and Belarusian athletes should even be allowed to compete in Paris as neutral athletes.
Government representatives from 36 countries met virtually last Friday to discuss the issue, with UK Culture Minister Lucy Frazer chairing the meeting that began with a video address by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
The British government is now coordinating a collective response to the IOC based on the meeting expected to take place this week.
The IOC advised international sports federations to exclude Russian and Belarusian athletes from their competitions in the immediate aftermath of the invasion last February.
Since then, President Thomas Bach has stressed that it was a measure designed solely to protect athletes from those countries and that the IOC is now exploring a way for them to compete under strict conditions of neutrality.
He has criticized governments, including the UK, for meddling in this area and believes that athletes should not be discriminated against because of the passports they hold.
He has also warned Ukraine and any other country considering a boycott of Russian athletes being allowed to participate would go against the fundamental principles of the Olympic Movement.