Cuba is set to allow women to box officially after decades of restrictions, but it was not confirmed if it would be at a professional level as was sanctioned for male athletes earlier this year.
The country’s National Institute for Sport, Physical Education, and Recreation (INDER) stated that they would hold a competition of 42 boxers in mid-December to choose 12 athletes for a women’s team.
The team is then set to make its debut at the Central American and Caribbean Games in El Salvador which is seen as a first step towards the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.
“Today we are making a public authorisation of women’s boxing in our country,” Ariel Saínz, vice-president of INDER, told Agence France-Presse.
He described it as “an important step in the development of Cuban boxing.”
Emilia Rebecca Hernández, of INDER, predicted that the changes would make it so “Cuban women athletes can move up to the place where they belong – right next to men.”
Hernández claimed their delay in allowing women to practice the sport was because they had to investigate “the risks that women could run.”
It was confirmed that women would wear additional padding compared to men.
The decision was announced shortly after International Boxing Association (IBA) President Umar Kremlev visited Cuba where he met with the country’s head of state Miguel Díaz-Canel.
During Kremlev‘s visit, Díaz-Canel offered Governmental support to the creation of a major boxing institute to provide educational opportunities for coaches and officials, programmes for athletes and a means for socialisation among retired boxers.
It has been a long-time ambition of the IBA, formerly known as AIBA, to have Cuban women compete in boxing.
When female boxing was added to the Olympic programme for London 2012, Cuban head coach Pedro Roque made clear his opposition to the idea by saying Cuban women “are made for beauty and not to take blows around the head”.
The official then resigned from his position in 2017 and has been made persona non grata by Kremlev.
Women were already allowed to compete in other contact sports such as wrestling, weightlifting, karate, taekwondo and judo. –Insidethegames.biz