Some women boxers from across the globe are hard at training in preparation for the world-class boxing bouts to be held here within a month. And Barbadians, especially boxing and sports aficionados, are being encouraged to attend the 10 days of ???rumbling and tumbling’ in the rings at the Wildey Gymnasium.
Chairperson of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) and Women’s Commission of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA), Joyce Bowen, wants Barbadians to turn out to the 6th edition of the Women World Boxing Championships from September 9 to 18.
Mrs. Bowen assured spectators that it would be "the best in boxing ever seen anywhere in the world". She stated: "Everyone is saying these will be the best championships ever and we want people to come out in their numbers and support the Barbados team. This is the first time our boxers in Barbados will be taking part in a world championship and they will need the support."
In addition, the LOC official is calling on corporate Barbados to come on board and assist with sponsoring the event. "Government is putting money into the championships because it knows of the benefits of the event. [It is important] to have this number of athletes and officials, along with family and friends here. I can see it bringing in much needed foreign exchange into the country, while putting us more on the map," she suggested.
Barbados is the first developing nation to host the prestigious championships, which were previously held in the United States of America, Turkey, Russia, India and China.
Women between the ages of 17 and 34 will compete in the tournament, which will be staged in 10 weight categories, ranging from 45 kgs to +81 kgs. It is expected to attract over 600 athletes and officials from 72 countries, but this number is expected to rise, since final registration only ended last Friday.
It is anticipated that six-time world champion and 2008 AIBA Women’s Boxer of the Year, Katie Taylor; four-time 46 kg world champion, Mary Kom; two-time world champions, Mary Spencer and Arianne Fortin; and AIBA’s Women Boxing Ambassador, Anna Laurell, who is also a two-time world champion and runner up, will compete.
Representatives of AIBA were here recently to evaluate the island’s readiness and Mrs. Bowen stressed that they were "really happy with the progress", while adding that planning was more advanced than previously thought.??????????????
Women’s boxing is not a popular sport in Barbados and Mrs. Bowen believes a contributing factor to this is because people do not understand the difference between amateur boxing and professional boxing, which they view on television. She explained: "… They don’t want their children involved in the sport because they think it is all [about] bloody noses… Amateur boxing is nothing like that. The referees are there to protect the boxers; we wear head gear, a complete uniform, and a well protected sports bra, with breast protectors being optional.
??"It is a sport that has taught people self-control, helped them to become disciplined and to change their lives around."
But, she expects the interest to grow here and across the world, especially since women’s boxing has become an Olympic sport. According to her, the men had the opportunity to compete in the Olympics and world championships, but regrettably, women could only show-off their prowess in inter-island competitions.
Incidentally, this is the first time the competition is being held since the International Olympic Committee’s decision to include this sport in the 2012 London Olympics.
Meanwhile, AIBA will be staging the ???Road to Barbados’ as a lead up to the championships. This initiative affords some boxers from lesser developed countries who could not have financed travel to these shores an opportunity to receive intensive training from next Monday, August 16, to the end of the competition.
Mrs. Bowen disclosed that 49 athletes and coaches would be participating in the programme, and that local boxers could train along with them.
With all this action coming to our shores soon, Barbadians should purchase tickets so they can get a ringside view of the women boxers battling for the various medals at firstname.lastname@example.org