AIBA, the International Boxing Association, is proud and honored to welcome women into the world of Olympic boxing following today's historic decision by the International Olympic Committee to include women's boxing from the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The announcement in Berlin by IOC President Dr Jacques Rogge means that boxing is no longer the only Olympic sport practiced solely by men. For the thousands of women boxers who train so hard and compete in national, continental and international competition, their dream of one day competing on the biggest stage of all can now become a reality.
The inclusion of women in the Olympic Games has been a key goal for AIBA President Dr. Ching-Kuo Wu ever since he was elected in 2006. Supported by a dynamic AIBA Women's Commission, Dr Wu has worked tirelessly towards this momentous day.
"Women's Olympic boxing is a vote for the future," said Dr Wu. "AIBA accepted women's boxing into its program as long ago as 1994 and I am thrilled and delighted that, at long last, women can claim their rightful place alongside men on the Olympic boxing program."
Women will compete at three weights in London - flyweight (48 - 51kg), lightweight (56 - 60kg) and middleweight (69 - 75kg) - with 12 boxers taking part at each weight. In order for the total number of boxers to remain at 286 there will be one less weight category in the men's competition, meaning that there will be 10 weights for men.
"The addition of women's boxing means that we finally have a truly universal Olympic Games," Dr Wu continued. "Nevertheless, we will strive to ensure a very successful first Olympic Games for women in London in order that the number of women participating at future Olympic Games may increase."
Dr Rogge said: "I can only rejoice about the decision to include women's boxing in the Olympic Games. (Women's boxing) is a great addition since boxing was the only summer Olympic sport without a female discipline. Women's boxing has progressed a lot in the last five years and it is time to include them."
Dr Wu went on to reveal his plans for the future of women's boxing. "I already have plans to support all national federations who want to develop women's boxing," he said. "AIBA will offer long-term support to talented young boxers, particularly those from emerging nations, and it will create more competitions for women, at both international and continental levels."
But it is not only the boxers that AIBA will help: the development of women referees and judges, women coaches and women leaders in management roles both within AIBA and in the general administration of boxing are equally important medium and long-term goals.