Olympic women's boxing skirts issue to be decided
Amateur boxing chiefs will discuss this week whether female boxers must wear skirts at the London Olympics.
The Amateur International Boxing Association (Aiba) has previously asked boxers to trial the skirts to help spectators distinguish them from men.
But at the European Championship in October, Poland and Romania were the only nations to do so.
All seven of Aiba’s commissions are meeting in Thailand from 18-22 January. A final decision is expected in July.
Women’s boxing will make its Olympic debut in London and the issue of making women wear skirts has already become a controversial one.
At the European Championship, Ireland’s three-time world champion Katie Taylor told BBC Sport: “I won’t be wearing a mini-skirt. I don’t even wear mini-skirts on a night out, so I definitely won’t be wearing one in the ring.”
But there has been support from some boxers, such as MC Mary Kom of India: “The tennis players wear skirts and the badminton players are wearing skirts so why don’t the boxers wear skirts?”
Following the January meeting of the sport’s world governing body, at which dress code will be part of the agenda for Aiba’s technical and rules body, a recommendation will then be made to the executive committee, before a final decision in July.
An online petition against forcing women boxers to wear skirts currently has more than 50,000 signatures.
The International Olympic Committee decided in 2009 to allow women’s boxing into the Olympic schedule. The move followed a systematic review of its sports programme, which found men could compete in 164 events while women could only enter 124.
Marianne Marston, who has backed the campaign, said: “I feel I have more important issues to deal with in women’s boxing, the acceptance of women’s boxing, acceptance of women in boxing gyms, than whether they should wear skirts or not.
“I think they (Aiba) are saying that women’s sport won’t get accepted or viewed unless women are feminine and boxing is not necessarily a sport that attracts particularly a feminine attitude from the women that compete in it and I think there should be a choice.”
Meanwhile boxer and kit designer Laura Saperstein said: “I prefer to wear a skirt because they are more comfortable.”
She told Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour: “In my view there is a very good reason why men wear the kind of shorts that they do.”
Aiba says it is aware of the campaign but insists it is considering everyone’s opinion, including the wider public, and seeking a consensus.
From BBC Sport