Women Win First Shot at Boxing in Olympic Ring

The addition of women’s boxing to the Olympic docket kicked down one of the final gender barriers in the Games. The International Olympic Committee's vote to add the sport gave women, for the first time, the opportunity to try out for any Olympic sport a man could. “It was a celebration, but a muted celebration” Dr. Christy Halbert, an advocate for women’s boxing, said. While it was a major win for women, only 36 slots across three weight divisions were opened for women boxers in London, compared to 250 slots across 10 divisions for men. The limitations forced many women to shift their weight—sometimes drastically—to improve their shot at qualifying for one of the three open weight classes. The IOC defended its decision, citing the newness of the event and a lower worldwide boxing participation rate among women compared to men. Despite any complaints, athletes agree that the limited openings is sure make competition cutthroat, and women’s boxing one of the most elite events to watch for at London 2012.

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