Female Boxers Officially have Option of Wearing Skirts or Trunks
Most boxing fans knew it was coming, but it’s now been made official. Female boxers won’t have to wear skirts while fighting in the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games in London, England. The International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) didn’t really make a big announcement concerning the controversial issue, instead, it simply updated some of its rules on March 1 and posted them to its website.
The governing body for amateur boxing created a stir last year when it said it was thinking of recommending that women wear skirts in the ring. However, it claimed that it never said skirts would be mandatory, they would just be an option available to the participants. The new competition uniform rule 8.1.3, now states that all female boxers will wear either shorts or a skirt in the ring, and there is no mention on the length of either garment.
For some reason, the AIBA’s suggestion of wearing skirts was blown way out of proportion and it received a lot of criticism for it. Many people called it sexist, but a lot of these people aren’t female boxers. Some of the boxers themselves said they don’t have a problem wearing a skirt and would make their decision on whether a skirt allows them to move around the ring with more freedom.
Wu Ching-Kuo, the president of the AIBA, said he originally thought skirts would be a good option since numerous fans said they couldn’t always tell if they were watching male or female amateur bouts because shirts and headgear are also worn. This caused women’s rights advocates to start complaining, but they aren’t the ones slugging it out in the ring. The right decision was made when the AIBA said women will have the option to wear what they feel the most comfortable in.
Those who do compete in the ring seemed to be divided on the issue. The Romanian and Polish women’s’ amateur boxing teams wore skirts in the European Championships last year and said they preferred them over trunks. Marlen Esparza, who won the flyweight division at last month’s trials for the U.S. Olympic team, said she is thinking about wearing a skirt for future bouts.
However, numerous boxers from other Western nations, such as Ireland’s Katie Taylor and Britain’s Natasha Jonas, said they wouldn’t wear a skirt. But it’s not known if those opposed to skirts have ever tried them out or not. Most of the female boxers agreed that wearing a skirt should simply be an option and that’s exactly what is officially is now.
This year will see women competing in Olympic boxing for the first time. The International Olympic Commission decided in 2009 to add female boxing to the games and there will be three weight divisions this summer, consisting of 36 boxers. It’ll be interesting to see how many of these three dozen boxers will be wearing trunks and how many will be wearing skirts once the bell rings to start the bouts.