LONDON: The success of women’s boxing at the Olympics can inspire women to take up sport, said IOC chief Jacques Rogge who believes the decision to include the discipline in the Games has been vindicated.
The 70-year-old Belgian, who is presiding over his final Games as he steps down in September next year after a 12-year reign, was present at the climax to the women’s boxing event when the first three champions were crowned.
“I think I am very happy,” said Rogge. “There was a lot of criticism of the level of women’s boxing and of their technique prior to the Games. I think we have been vindicated that it was a good decision and it’s only the beginning.”
Rogge, though, would not put the introduction of women’s boxing at the top of the list of his achievements. He places the fight against doping and illegal gambling higher and said that boxing formed part of his campaign to get women a higher profile in sports. He is especially proud of having coaxed the last three hold-outs against sending women to the Games – Saudi Arabia, who were threatened with being barred if they did not do so, Qatar and Brunei – to breach that barrier at these Games.
“The Saudi Arabian runner getting a standing ovation along with our introduction of women’s boxing shows we are fighting the right cause.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2012.