Barbados is ready for the International Amateur Boxing Association’s (AIBA) Women’s World Boxing Championships and it has received a passing grade for its preparations from representatives of AIBA who are here "fine-tuning details" to ensure the event is a memorable one.

Sports Director of AIBA, Olaf Veltman, is on his second visit here as part of an advanced party, and he told a press conference yesterday that "it is clear that a lot of progress has been made.

"There has been a huge improvement on the Garfield Sobers stadium, a lot of things have been renovated … It is also good to see that the Local Organising Committee is actually in place and all the preparations are being made appropriately," Mr. Veltman disclosed.

His colleague, Yue Yuan, who is AIBA’s Technical Delegate, and will be in charge of the event, agreed, stating that up to this point, everything was going smoothly. He opined that the championship should be very successful because of all the planning and hard work which had gone into it over the past year.

The Championships will be held in Barbados from September 6 to 19 at the Wildey Gymnasium. They will be staged in 10 weight categories, ranging from 45 kg to +81 kg, and 10 gold medals will be up for grabs.

Mr. Veltman said it would be a massive tournament, explaining that 72 countries had registered, but noted that final registration would be on August 6, so the exact numbers should be known shortly afterwards.

Over 600 boxers, as well as some family members and friends are expected here and select hotels are said to be offering them attractive rates.

The Sports Director pointed out that AIBA had developed "A Road To …" Programme, which would eventually lead to London for the Olympics in 2012. He explained that for every major championship, AIBA would select a group of athletes and coaches from emerging countries to receive training two weeks prior to the competition, and they would also participate in the matches.

"So for Barbados, 40 boxers have been selected [from several countries], varying from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Burundi and also from countries which might not be able to participate in such a tournament because the costs might be too high.

"AIBA is paying for those 40 boxers and nine coaches who have been selected… They will be trained by four coaches, [that is] two local coaches from Barbados and two international coaches," he said.

Mr. Veltman added that a similar programme was successfully executed at the Youth World Championships in Baku and the Men’s World’s Championship in Milan.

He further explained that from the "Road To …" Programme, about 10 boxers would eventually be chosen for preparation for the qualification tournament for the Olympic Games.

Chairperson of the LOC and Women’s Commission of AIBA, Joyce Bowen, gave the assurance that the Barbados team was training diligently under national coach, Gary Bowen. She added that the women were eagerly looking forward to the challenge from the international boxers.

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