THE European Olympic Qualification Event at the Copper Box in London will be suspended, after the evening session of boxing today (Monday March 16).
The bouts and results that have already taken place will stand as the event organisers hope to restart the tournament from where it left off at a later date.
In a statement the Boxing Task Force (BTF) said that they “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,” they added.
The Americas continental qualification event, set for Buenos Aires later this month, has already been suspended and the final World qualifier was due to be held in France in May but that too will have to be put back.
The Local Organising Committee in London said: “In light of significant recent changes in the Coronavirus situation and growing concerns relating to the welfare of athletes, officials, staff and volunteers, the IOC’s Boxing Task Force (BTF) has taken the decision to cancel the rest of the Road to Tokyo Boxing Qualifier from Tuesday 17 March 2020.
“The decision has been made in conjunction with the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the Boxing Road to Tokyo Qualifying event amid the increasing global travel restrictions and quarantine measures which are impacting on the travel plans of athletes, teams and officials and affecting their ability to return home.
“The LOC is extremely disappointed for all of the boxers, who have been training hard and were looking forward to competing in this event here in London, and for all the staff and volunteers who have been working tirelessly to deliver an outstanding event.
“The LOC is continuing to work closely with all the international teams and officials to assist with accommodation and travels to ensure they can return home from the UK.
“The event’s ticket partner, See Tickets, will contact all ticket holders who are all entitled to a face value refund. See Tickets will automatically return the money within 30 days via the method by which the ticket was purchased. Booking fees and any other expenses incurred will not be refunded. Any customers that also took out an insurance policy with TicketPlan when they purchased their tickets should contact the company direct via the TicketPlan website.”
It leaves huge pressure on the boxers, like Peter McGrail and Galal Yafai, fighting for Olympic qualification tonight. This could be their last chance for a while.