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Volume 7 No. 149

Olympics

IOC President Thomas Bach "refused to guarantee boxing's place at the Tokyo Olympics Saturday," despite having received a "pleading" request from the Japanese Boxing Federation (JABF) that the sport remain a part of the 2020 Games, according to Joel Fitzpatrick of KYODO. Bach also revealed that BMX and mountain bike cycling events and rugby "may see their schedules shifted due to Tokyo's sweltering summer heat," joining the discussion that has so far seen organizers "hoping for earlier start times of the marathons and race walks." Bach said that Olympic authorities "received a request from the national boxing federation of Japan pleading to have an Olympic tournament." Bach maintained that the IOC is "absolutely in line with (the JABF's) request" He added, "Yes, we want to have (the boxing competition) and this is why we will work for the athletes. ... We do not want athletes to suffer for the misbehavior of officials or people which they are not related (to), with misbehavior whom they have nothing to do (with)" (KYODO, 12/1). The BBC reported Olympic execs started an investigation into the "governance, ethics and financial management" of the Int'l Boxing Association (AIBA). The IOC warned AIBA could lose its status as amateur boxing's governing body. The IOC has also "frozen the planning" for boxing at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. One of the IOC's "key concerns" surrounds Gafur Rakhimov, who was elected as AIBA president this month. The "controversial" Uzbek businessman is described by the U.S. Treasury Department as a "key member and associate of a transnational organised criminal network" (BBC, 11/30). The AP's Wade & Dunbarn reported the full IOC membership next meets in June in Lausanne, Switzerland, which is a deadline the IOC suggested "for a final decision on boxing's future." One option for the IOC is to organize an Olympic boxing tournament, including qualifying, outside of AIBA's control. IOC Sports Dir Kit McConnell said that the move to postpone a decision was not simply "kicking the can down the road." He said that he is also "hopeful boxing will take place -- in some form, run by somebody." McConnell: "At the end of the day our goal is still to run an Olympic boxing tournament in Tokyo and protect athletes in that regard" (AP, 11/30).

HUMAN RIGHTS ASSIST: REUTERS' Jack Tarrant reported the IOC said on Saturday that it will form a new committee to advise the exec board on human rights issues within sport, including the requirements for all future Olympic Games host cities. The new advisory committee will be headed by former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein of Jordan, and the composition of the committee will be announced at the exec board meeting in March (REUTERS, 12/1).

TOKYO PARTNER The Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games partnered with Toyota. The car brand becomes the presenting partner of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Torch Relay (Tokyo 2020). 

Jessica Varnish
Photo: getty images
Jessica Varnish
Photo: getty images
Jessica Varnish
Photo: getty images

A "ground-breaking legal case" that begins next week could lead to more than 200 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls losing their funding, according to Robert Dineen of the London TELEGRAPH. Former track cyclist Jessica Varnish is "attempting to sue British Cycling for discrimination in a court action that could have profound consequences for the country’s elite athletes." The case rests on Varnish’s legal team proving in the employment status hearing with UK Sport that she had employee rights, "rather than the distinct status given to nationally-funded athletes." Should Varnish’s team succeed in Manchester, sources close to the case expect that up to 20% of funded athletes "will have their grants cut." UK Sport supports around 1,100 potential Olympic and Paralympic athletes. Varnish is claiming "she suffered unfair dismissal, sexual discrimination, victimisation and detrimental treatment as a result of whistle-blowing" while part of the Olympic program. A source said, "The case could have profound consequences. Though what happens will depend on HMRC's response; if Jess Varnish was to win, it could force UK Sport to completely restructure its funding model" (TELEGRAPH, 12/1).