Barbados’ hosting of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) Women’s World Boxing Championship is significant for the development of all disciplines of local sports, not only the boxing community.
Minister of Sports Stephen Lashley expressed that view while addressing a dinner for AIBA officials at the Concorde Experience at Seawell, Christ Church.
Lashley acknowledged that the championship, which started yesterday at the Wildey Gymnasium and will be held over a ten-day period, would bring intense attention to this island as a sporting destination.
“It is, therefore, a major plank in the development of our sports tourism product, which continues to be the thrust of the Government of Barbados,” he stated.
He told his audience it was fitting that the dinner was being held in the presence of the Concorde, an aircraft that had broken global barriers, since the championship “is representative” of a hurdle that had been removed by AIBA, through attaining the inclusion of women’s boxing as an Olympic sport.
The minister praised the sponsors and those involved in organising the event, stating that their commitment to the task was evident.
Chairperson of the Local Organising Committee and president of the Barbados Amateur Boxing Association, Joyce Bowen, said preparation for the competition had been “tiring”, adding its staging was “a dream come true” for Barbados.
President of AIBA, Ching-Kuo Wu, thanked the minister and the team for the preparatory work, adding that 267 boxers from 65 countries would be competing at the event, the biggest ever for the organisation.
Wu stressed that the approval of women’s boxing by the International Olympic Committee “is a great encouragement” to the development of the sport.
He said that a few categories would be included in the London Olympics in 2012, and added that “this [inclusion] is the beginning” and “we will have more to go”. The AIBA president added that it “is a dream for many of our women boxers”.