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Olympic boxing qualifier suspended until May due to coronavirus


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The European Olympic boxing qualifier in London has been suspended, midway through its third day. 

Action at the Copper Box Arena had been forced behind closed doors after criticism of staging the opening day's action with crowds present.

The IOC's Boxing Task Force say they've made the decision to suspend the event after this evening's session as they claim now that "Safeguarding the well-being of the athletes, officials and all other participants is a top priority for the BTF."

The Americas leg of the qualifiers and the world finals - both scheduled for May - have also been put on ice.

They aim to complete filling the Olympic boxing quotas in May and June.

Both Kurt Walker and Brendan Irvine can seal qualification to Tokyo 2020 just before the shutters come down on the Copper Box Arena on Monday night.

Irvine faces Hungarian flyweight Istvan Szkaka, while Walker takes on German featherweight Hamsat Shadalov.

Laois middleweight Michael Nevin, and Belfast welterweight Aidan Walsh had both progressed to the last-16 of their respective divisions.

Kellie Harrington, Michaela Walsh, Aoife O'Rourke, Christina Desmond and Dean Gardiner had yet to step between the ropes in London.

The IOC's BTF statement in full:

In light of the constantly changing landscape worldwide, the IOC Boxing Task Force (BTF) has decided today to suspend the current Boxing Road to Tokyo European qualifier in London, Great Britain, and the subsequent Americas and final world qualifiers, which were scheduled to take place in May.

The European qualifier, which started on 14 March and was planned to run until 24 March, will be closed after today’s evening session.

Safeguarding the well-being of the athletes, officials and all other participants is a top priority for the BTF.

Since the preparation phase of the event, the BTF has been working in close cooperation with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) – the delivery body of the competition – as well as its stakeholders, its own medical experts and the national health authorities, to set up the necessary precautionary measures.

The BTF eventually took the decision to suspend the event today, amid increasing global travel restrictions and quarantine measures, in order to allow the participants from over 60 countries to adjust their travel plans and return home.

The BTF will continue to evaluate the situation daily, aiming to complete the distribution of the remaining Tokyo 2020 boxing quota places in May and June.

The BTF’s priority remains the qualification of athletes on the field of play, and it will inform all stakeholders as soon as more information is available.


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Aidan Walsh Boxing Brendan Irvine Copper Box Arena Coronavirus Covid-19 IOC Iaba Kellie Harrington Kurt Walker London Michael Nevin Olympic Qualifier Road To Tokyo 2020 Tokyo 2020

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