Which Women Will Box in the Olympics? Not Necessarily the ‘Top Eight’
Coach Christy Halbert Explains
Friday, May 11, 2012
At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, 36 women will become the first female boxers to compete in the Olympics. This month in Qinhuangdao, China, 343 female fighters from 77 countries across the globe will fight to make it to London.
These women have already faced the toughest competition in their own countries. Now, to qualify for the Olympics, they have to fight the best boxers in the world. But even if a boxer finishes in the top eight in an Olympic weight class at the World Boxing Championships, she’s not necessarily London-bound.
Who goes to London? The math is complicated. And it’s different for fighters from different regions of the globe. So, though many media outlets are reporting the ‘top eight’ in each of three Olympic weight classes at the World Boxing Championships will advance to London, that may not be true. It’s possible to make the top eight, but not earn a spot at the Olympics. And it’s also possible to qualify for the Olympics without making the top eight. Expert, coach and women’s boxing advocate Christy Halbert sent us this explanation.
The women's qualification process is based on the boxers’ finish at Worlds, but only within the continental quota for their region of the globe. Each region – Africa, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Oceania – has been assigned a specific number of slots to send boxers to the Olympic Games. Europe has 12 slots. America and Asia each have eight. Africa has five slots. Oceania has three. The quotas are decided by the International Amateur Boxing Association (IABA) and the International Olympic Committee. If the top eight include more boxers from a single region than the continental quota allows, some will not go to the Olympics. Each quota is further broken down by Olympic weight category.
For boxers from the Americas competing at the World Championships, the following quotas apply:
Among FLYWEIGHTS (112 lb) – the top two advance to the Olympics.
Among LIGHTWEIGHTS (132 lb) – the top boxer advances to the Olympics.
Among MIDDLEWEIGHTS (165 lb) – the top two advance to the Olympics.
So, Team USA’s Queen Underwood of Seattle, WA, has to place first among all the boxers in the lightweight division in the Americas, including Adriana Araujo (Brazil), Sondra Bizier (Canada), Dayana Sanchez (Argentina), Kiria Tapia (Puerto Rico), in order to be assured an Olympic berth. Middleweight Claressa Shields of Flint, Michigan and Flyweight Marlen Esparza of Houston, Texas each have to make the top two in the Americas to be certain to advance.
But there is one more way to make it to London: after the World Championships, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Tripartite Commission will select an additional boxer from the Americas for each Olympic category.
The total number of boxers from the Americas in the Olympic Games is slated to be eight (three flyweights, two lightweights, three middleweights), including those who qualify and those selected by the IOC.
And it is also possible to qualify for the Olympics without making the top eight, as in the case of the clarification table, below.
These clarification tables were released by IABA in their invitation letter for the women's World Championships.