Boxing, weightlifting could be expelled, says IOC president

Boxing, weightlifting could be expelled, says IOC president

Thai boxer Sudaporn Seesondee, right, in action at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Thai boxer Sudaporn Seesondee, right, in action at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Lausanne: International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach on Thursday warned that the continued inclusion of weightlifting, boxing and modern pentathlon in the Games was in doubt but that skateboarding, climbing and surfing would be kept on the programme in Los Angeles in 2028.

Speaking at a press conference at the end of a three-day IOC executive board meeting in Lausanne, Bach called boxing and weightlifting the IOC's "problem children".

He laid out what the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) and the International Boxing Association (Aiba) must do at the next Games in Paris in 2024 to be included in LA 2028.

"Aiba must demonstrate that it has addressed concerns around its governance, its financial transparency and the integrity of its refereeing and judging," Bach said.

The IOC is insisting the IWF leadership must change and those who take over must demonstrate an "effective change of culture. They must successfully address historical incidence of doping in the sport."

Weightlifting and boxing are Thailand's most successful sports at the Olympics.

The country has won 35 medals -- 15 in boxing (four gold, four silver and seven bronze) and 14 in weightlifting (five, two and seven).

The other six medals were won by taekwondo athletes.

The Thai Amateur Weightlifting Association (Tawa) was suspended from taking part in the Tokyo Olympics after a number of its athletes tested positive for banned substances.

Taekwondo champion Panipak Wongpattanakit and third-placed boxer Sudaporn Seesondee were Thailand's only medallists at Tokyo 2020.

Bach said World Pentathlon (UIPM) faces a different problem.

The sport, invented by Olympic founder Pierre de Coubertin, attracted headlines in Tokyo when a German coach punched the horse assigned to Annika Schleu, who was leading the event at the time, after it refused to jump.

Pentathlon will be on the programme in Paris but is under threat for Los Angeles.

It needs to replace horse riding and revamp its format, said Bach, as well as cutting costs and increasing their appeal to a wider audience.

Boycott 'insignificant'

France has no plans to join the US and others with a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday, calling such a move "insignificant".

"To be clear: You either have a complete boycott, and not send athletes, or you try to change things with useful actions," he told a news conference, adding that he was "in favour of action that has a useful outcome".

"I didn't hear anybody in the world say: let's not send our athletes," Macron said. "So we're talking about something rather symbolic."

On Wednesday, Australia, Britain and Canada followed the US and announced diplomatic boycotts of the Beijing Games, to be held in February, because of concerns over China's human rights record.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will attend the 2022 Beijing Olympics, his spokesman said on Thursday.

"The secretary-general received an invitation from the International Olympic Committee to attend the opening of the Beijing Winter Games and he has accepted it," spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.

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