The COVID-19 Coronavirus has struck again, this time at North, Central, and South American boxers looking to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The International Olympic Comittee Boxing Task Force (BTF) announced the decision earlier today that the March 26 – April 3 Olympic qualifier has been suspended.
The World Health Organization hours afterwards made a declaration that the COVID-19 Coronavirus is a pandemic.
“The Local Organising Committee (LOC) informed the BTF earlier today that the government of Argentina has taken the decision to restrict all types of international events in the country with immediate effect as a precautionary measure to COVID-19,” the BTF said in a press statement.
“The BTF understands and respects the decision taken by the public authorities of Argentina during this difficult time worldwide. We are searching for the appropriate solution for this unexpected situation and will immediately inform the National Olympic Committees, National Federations and other impacted parties as soon as further information is available.
“We assure you that the BTF is doing its utmost to find the best solution.”
The Asia and Oceania qualifier was also suspended. It was originally scheduled to take place in Wuhan in early February, but wrapped up the finals today in Jordan’s capital of Amman.
Canada female boxing gold medal hopeful Mandy Bujold was understandably disappointed in the news, but remained upbeat.
“I’m taking this as an opportunity,” Bujold said on her website. “We’ll just keep working on the things we’re working on. It just gives us more time to perfect those things. I’ll be ready when the qualifier is going to happen.”
“Maybe there’s some way they can find a new location and push it back,” Bujold added. “Maybe there’s a country that’s willing to have everyone travel in.”
“We just have to wait until we hear a bit more information. That’s the tough part. You’re in limbo, wondering if it’s going to happen in two weeks or in two months from now. It changes what you do with your training.”
After a chat with coach Syd Vanderpool and sports psychologist Kim Dawson, Bujold will stay the course.
“We’re not the only people in this situation. All the girls I would have competed against in Argentina are in the same situation,” Bujold said.
“They’re trying to figure out how to adapt their training.”