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Boxers from Great Britain will have the opportunity to secure qualification for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on home soil following the decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to hold the European continental qualifying event in London.
The event will be held at the Copper Box Arena on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park from 14-24 March 2020, and will provide an opportunity for 77 boxers [50 men and 27 women] from Europe to secure a place at Tokyo 2020.
It follows the IOC’s decision in June 2019 to suspend boxing’s international federation, AIBA, and set-up its own task force to run the Olympic boxing competition and qualifying campaign for Tokyo 2020.
A partnership of organisations has been established to deliver the event made-up of UK Sport, the Greater London Authority (GLA), the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), the British Olympic Association (BOA) and GB Boxing.
London’s track record of delivering world class sporting events and the strength of the partnership between government, city and sport were significant factors in the IOC’s decision to locate the event in the capital.
The announcement comes as London has just hosted the World Para Swimming Championships at the London Aquatics Centre following the International Paralympic Committee’s decision earlier this year to remove the event from Malaysia.
2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist and a member of the GB Boxing squad, Sandy Ryan, said: “It is great that the European qualification event for the 2020 Olympics will be in London. Being part of the GB Boxing squad we usually compete abroad and it is more than three years since I boxed in this country so I am really looking forward to it.
“It is such an important event for me in terms of my career, so to be able have my family and friends in the crowd supporting me will be fantastic. The rest of the boxers in the squad feel the same way, so hopefully it will give us all a boost and help us to produce our best form at the time when it matters most.”
Dame Katherine Grainger, UK Sport Chair said: “We are delighted that the IOC has placed its trust in the UK to host such an important and prestigious event. It is our intention to deliver a world class tournament by creating the best possible sporting environment in which Europe’s finest boxers can compete for a place at the Games.”
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “London is the sporting capital of the world and it’s fantastic we’re hosting yet another world-class event. Londoners and visitors alike can look forward to a thrilling spectacle at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in March, as Europe’s best boxers compete for a place in the Tokyo 2020 Games.”
Lyn Garner, Chief Executive of the London Legacy Development Corporation, said: “We are thrilled to be hosting the 2020 European boxing qualification event at our incredible legacy venue – The Copper Box Arena having just hosted the World Para Swimming Championships at the London Aquatics Centre last week. As athletes around the world prepare for Tokyo 2020, we know these international events at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will help inspire the next generations of athletes.”
BOA Chairman Sir Hugh Robertson commented: "As the host National Olympic Committee, the British Olympic Association are proud to have played an important role in advancing London’s credentials to host this important qualification event with our colleagues at the International Olympic Committee. Boxing is one of our most important and successful Olympic sports and we are delighted that British boxers will have their chance to qualify for Team GB on home soil and with home support.”
The UK will host a further seven Olympic and Paralympic qualification and preparation events in 2020. Alongside boxing, the Copper Box Arena will also be used for the World Skateboarding Championships in May.