To skirt or not to skirt: choice is the answer!
Score one for common sense and the best intentions of each member team of the International Amateur Boxing Association (“AIBA”): rather than requiring female boxers to wear skirts compulsorily, the AIBA has made it optional, thanks no doubt to the over 58,000 signatures received from an online petition strongly opposed to the imposition of mandatory boxing skirts.
Dr. Wu, head of the AIBA spoke at the 5th World Conference on Women and Sport noting, “We have never asked the women to wear skirts, compulsorily … some women want to wear shorts and some want to wear skirts … So the decision we have made is that we shall make it optional because many boxers are undecided.”
Dr. Wu further noted that there had been concerns raised by certain of the national federations to the skirting question which led to the decision to make it optional based on the decision of each individual member group.
Given the vehement opposition of boxers such as Ireland’s lightweight champion Katie Taylor, the decision is a wise one. The fact that the issue has come up at all at a time when the boxers should be focused on training in advance of the 2012 London summer games has been a distraction at best and a reminder of how far women’s boxing has yet to travel as an accepted sport.
For Americans who’ve just been treated to the first ever women’s boxing Olympic Trials this past week in Spokane, Washington, the news comes as a nice asterisk on a week of joyous celebration of the sport. From the perspective of Girlboxing, we wish the issue had never surfaced, but given that the Polish national team has already adopted the boxing skirt as part of the uniform, we do welcome the decision as the wise course.
I entirely agree. Common sense prevails at last but as you say the issue should never have arisen to begin with. One wonders though if some of the boxing associations will NOT still insist that their country’s boxers MUST wear skirts as they did in Rotterdam’s European championships ? eg: Poland and Romania and outside of Europe some regimes in countries where athletes have no choice but to follow their government’s own rules .Only time will tell.
Interesting too that in his speech Dr Wu specifically referred twice to Katie Taylor’s opposition.In his actual speech he said: ““The Polish team wore skirts,”
“That immediately drew attention.
“The boxers said they responded very positively and it helped give them very easy movement.
“But we also have opposition from outstanding boxers like Ireland’s Katie Taylor, who prefers to wear shorts.
“We have many boxers who asked for shorts so the best thing to do is to let them decide individually.”
Later when talking to reporters he went on : “At the European women’s championships, the Polish team wore skirts they designed themselves. But Katie Taylor from Ireland does not like the skirts. And other women have said they do not like them and would like to wear the shorts. It’s divided. So it will be optional.”
Taylor had said she does not even wear mini-skirts on a night out let alone when boxing and her coach and Dad, Peter Taylor had made it very clear that she would not take part in the Olympics if the proposals had been implemented. ““She won’t box,” said Peter. “Simple as that. We’ve got morals that go above marketing.”
The AIBA’s next Press Release,on the subject, expected within the next 14/21 days is also likely to include guidelines for skirt lengths and technical requirements, should a country choose to adopt new uniforms. “Then national federations can design the skirts by themselves,” Dr Wu said at the Conference.The first major women’s boxing event after Wu’s comments is this week’s Strandja Cup event in Sofia, Bulgaria. We may get some feedback from that event which features boxers from many countries inc. the Poles and Romanians.
Thank so much for your comments and the additional information on Dr. Wu’s comments and expectations for upcoming information. I agree that the entire issue is ridiculous, but as it is here for now, the best we can hope for is more “common sense” on the part of the National Teams.
Thanks again for your insights!!!
I am very happy to hear they made a good choice in the matter.
I was as well, even given the absurdity of the assertion for the “need” in the first place!