Ireland guaranteed inclusion of boxing in 2020 Tokyo Olympics by IOC

There had been considerable doubt cast over the sport’s involvement.

General view of Stephen Donnelly's fight with Zohie Kedache at the 2016  Olympics.
General view of Stephen Donnelly's fight with Zohie Kedache at the 2016 Olympics.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

THE INTERNATIONAL OLYMPIC Committee (IOC) have guaranteed the Olympic Federation of Ireland (OFI) that boxing will be included in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. 

The IOC had threatened the International Boxing Association (AIBA) with the expulsion of their sport from the Games if they did not address governance issues; warnings that were largely defied by the October election of Uzbekistan’s Gafur Rakhimov as the organisation’s President. 

Rakhimov had been fulfilling the role on an interim basis, and he has been linked to organised crime in Central Asia. He denies these links.

The US Treasury, however, have named Rakhimov as being associated with a gang involved in the transportation and sale of heroin and he is also banned from entering many countries including the United States, Argentina and Australia.

Despite the AIBA’s defiance of the IOC’s warnings, the latter body assured OFI president Sarah Keane that the sport will be included at Tokyo 2020. 

“They said that boxing will be in the games”, Keane told a media briefing when talk turned to her most recent meeting with the IOC in Lausanne. 

“We asked them if there are going to be any surprises can they please let us know, as boxing is so important to our nation.” 

Boxing is Ireland’s most successful Olympic sport, and in Kellie Harrington and Joe Ward Ireland have at least two legitimate medal hopes at the next Games. 

The OFI – formerly known as the Olympic Council of Ireland – have also announced a new ticketing partner for the Tokyo Games after huge controversy dogged the body’s association with Pro10 at the Rio Olympics. 

Finnish company Elamys Group have been appointed as the OFI’s Authorised Ticket Reseller (ATR) for the coming games. They were chosen after what the OFI described as a “rigorous selection process”, during which all potential ATR’s were evaluated and rated by the OFI board, before Grant Thornton were appointed to do further due diligence on Elamys. 

Elamys have not paid the OFI an agreement fee – as is common practice – and the only profit will be gleaned from the mark-up on tickets, which will be 20%. 

That mark-up will be split 50-50 between the OFI and Elamys, and given that the OFI is a non-profit organisation, their share of the money will be reinvested into funding the Irish camp. 

 60% of the tickets on sale to the public will be ticket-only, with the remaining 40% to be sold as packages. Pricing will be announced in May, and they are expected to go on sale in June or July. 

Elsewhere, the OFI also announced that they have reached an agreement with the city of Fukuroi to host the Irish team before they move into the Olympic village. The Irish team will have exclusive access to a 50-room hotel and also to the Ecopa Stadium, indoor arena and athletics facilities. 

The city is a two-hour bullet train ride from Tokyo. 

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Gavin Cooney

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