The president of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has agreed to meet with members the Irish government later this month to discuss, among other things, corruption claims at last Summer’s Rio Olympics.
Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan confirmed a meeting will take place on January 18th and was requested after the events of Rio were left unexplained.
Dr Ching-Kuo Wu will meet with the government and, if the Sports Minister is to be believed, can expect some difficult questions.
Ireland had high medal hopes leading into Rio, but there was massive controversy regarding Micheal Conlan’s infamous quarter final defeat to Russian Vladimir Nikitin and questions raised after the defeats of Joe Ward and Katie Taylor.
Nikitin would subsequently withdraw from his semi final with Shakur Stevenson due to pre-existing cuts which were exponentially worsened by Conlan.
Some have suggested that Irish boxers faced an uphill battle before the Games began due to former AIBA referee Seamus Kelly going public with claims of corruption and the revelation of Michael O’Reilly’s failed drugs test.
The AIBA did remove officials from Rio following the Conlan bout, but still claim nothing untoward took place.
However, the current Minister of Sport claims questions need to be asked and he plans to ask them this month.
“We deserve to be treated fairly. We don’t deserve to have anybody suggesting that we’ve been blackguarded. And I want to ask the international association to assure me that’s not the case,” O’Donovan told the Irish Examiner
“I want to be sure that cloud over this at the moment, that our lads want to be treated fairly, that somebody who is awarded a bout couldn’t even go onto the next one. That to me deserves an explanation.”
“As a minister for sport in Ireland I think I, the sport, and the people of Ireland deserve an explanation as to how that happened.”