Youth World Championships update
February 3, 2021 | by Matt Halfpenny
England Boxing will not be sending a team to the AIBA Youth World Championships in Poland in April, it can regrettably confirm.
The decision has been taken by the England Boxing board as a result of ongoing health and safety concerns brought about by the ongoing Coronavirus Pandemic.
England Boxing has, together with other countries, lobbied for the postponement of the event until later in the year in a similar way to the EUBC Under 22 Championship scheduled for Italy in March and European Olympic Qualifier scheduled to take place in London during April.
However, to date, AIBA have declined to do so.
The decision not to send a team to compete was not taken lightly, and is based on a number of reasons and risk factors which include:
- Throughout the pandemic, the health and safety of the boxers and coaches / officials has remained the overriding priority. Given the fact that England is going through a national lockdown, with schools for most children and boxing clubs closed by law, with no known end date yet provided, it shows the gravity of the situation. That would have significantly impacted the participating squad’s ability to comprehensively train safely and be ready in time for the Championships. The ongoing changes to travel plans, as a result of the new Coronavirus variants, would have also impacted on England Boxing’s ability to organise appropriate training and practice abroad.
- With boxers not having had a competitive bout since March 2020, or earlier, nor been able to train on pads or spar, it is felt the extremely limited and significantly shorter preparation would pose a risk to the boxers. This is amplified when considering some countries have been training uninterrupted during the same period as different countries have different Coronavirus restrictions.
- Although exemptions are permitted, the government are advising against all but essential travel to Poland, whose schools, for instance, are also closed. At the time of writing, no details on Coronavirus Security / preparations for the tournament have been provided by AIBA. The new Coronavirus variants are also creating concern and uncertainty for a global competition.
- Other operational and planning difficulties have also been apparent, including the potential for the need to isolate on the return home.
“We understand that this will come as a huge disappointment, but, given the circumstances, we hope people will understand the health and safety of the team and those connected to it was the priority and it’s not a decision taken lightly by the board,” said Andrea Rankine, England Boxing’s Interim Talent Pathway Manager.
“It’s also a decision that we understand will also be taken by several other countries, who have similar, very real concerns.”
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