NACs and Schools Championships postponed until later in the year
February 1, 2021 | by Matt Halfpenny
In light of the ongoing national Coronavirus lockdown, it has been regrettably confirmed that The England Boxing National Amateur Championships and England Boxing National Schools Championships 2021 will be postponed.
This is because of the resulting insufficient time for boxers to prepare, even if the lockdown was to end in line with current government projections and the known requirement of a phased return, which is approximately one month per phase.
It follows the postponement of the Under-22 European Championships in Italy in March and the postponement, and potential change of venue, of the rearranged European Olympic Qualifiers in London in April, which have both be announced in the last 48 hours.
Planning is now being undertaken for the two England Boxing Championships to take place later in the calendar year, providing government restrictions are lifted.
The decision was taken at an England Boxing board meeting following input from the Championships Sub-committee.
The England Boxing National Youth Championships, originally scheduled for February, and the England Boxing National Junior Championships, originally scheduled for March, have already been postponed, but it is planned that all four events, plus the Development Championships, will now take place towards the end of the calendar year, with the new 2021-22 season beginning on 1st June.
This plan to move forward is dependent on there being no further government interventions and the COVID-19 situation improving as vaccinations are rolled out.
“As a former boxer myself, I know how disappointing and frustrating this news will be, but it is impossible to hold these Championships at the moment with the lockdown and restrictions in place, especially given the time boxers and coaches need to prepare properly,” said England Boxing Director and Championships Sub-committee Chairman Michael Norford.
“What we all want is to get the Championships back on, but the only way to do that is to provisionally move them on until later in the year. The only real alternative is to cancel one or more of the Championships, which would be a real shame.
“Speaking to coaches, it is less and less common for clubs to close in the summer now, and many of those who do normally close probably won’t this year because of missing so much of the season. This will help give boxers more time to get ready for a return to competition, if the government allows the start of club shows and Championships by then.”
After submitting, before Christmas, its Sport Action Plan for a gradual return to contact boxing when COVID-19 allows, England Boxing is also continuing to work with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) for a timeframe on when clubs and gyms can reopen and what will then be permitted.
Within this phased return to boxing, sufficient time will have to be allowed for boxers, clubs and regions to be fully prepared for competition in a safe environment.
Chief Executive, Gethin Jenkins, said: “We are all extremely frustrated by this third lockdown brought on by the new variant of COVID-19, because we all want gyms open and boxers boxing safely.
“But hope is now on the horizon with the vaccination programmes that are being set in motion across the country and we thanks clubs for their continued cooperation, patience and understanding in what are unprecedented and very difficult times for all of us.”
It is also confirmed that, following Government laws and guidelines, no competitive boxing will be permitted before the end of April.
This will be monitored and amended if the government laws, regulations and advice changes. Once boxing does return, as it is permitted to move through the phases, the priority will be for clubs to box competitively at a local level.
England Boxing is currently reviewing the membership affiliations alongside the season and competition calendar. An update with further information will follow as soon as possible.
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