Four-time world champion MC Mary Kom's Olympic dream may soon turn into reality. That is if the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decides, at its executive board meeting in Berlin on Thursday, to accept women's boxing as a medal sport in the 2012 London Games.
The international boxing federation (AIBA) has recommended three weight categories - 48, 51, 56-60 and 69-75 kilogrammes - to be included in London. Boxing is the only individual sport that doesn't have woman participants at the Games. Women's boxing was a demonstration sport in the 1904 Olympics at St Louis (Missouri).
Indian Boxing Federation secretary, PK Muralidharan Raja, who is also a member of the AIBA's Referee and Judges Commission, said that in all probability it should get IOC's approval.
“The AIBA has done all the groundwork and even pruned the number of weight categories from five to three to make it feasible to be included in the Olympics,” said Raja. “AIBA president Ching-Kuo Wu recently held some meetings with the IOC and got positive feedback.”
The IBF secretary was confident that Indians would fare well in the lower weight categories at the Olympics. “We are traditionally strong in these weight categories,” he said.
But it has to be seen how the IOC accommodates these categories without compromising on the men's field. If the IOC gives its nod to women's boxing, then 36 women boxers (12 in each weight category) will have to be accommodated in a combined pool of 286.
“Hopefully, the IOC won't reduce the weight categories in men's,” said Raja. “The qualifications may get tougher and there might be fewer entries.”
Mary Kom felt it would be a good opportunity for India to win medals in the quadrennial showpiece.
“I hope it becomes part of the Olympics. I would relish the challenge at the highest level,” she said. “Since the Olympics are a different ball game, I am not promising a gold but I can definitely win a medal.” India lives in hope.
Golf, rugby favourites for entry
AP adds from Berlin: Golf, rugby 7, look to be the favourites for inclusion in the 2016 Summer Games by the IOC. “It will be a long and difficult discussion,” IOC board member Gerhard Heiberg said. The IOC will select two from a proposed list of seven, which also includes baseball, softball, squash, karate and roller sports.