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The confusing rule that left Olympic hopeful Grainne Walsh heartbroken

For all intents and purposes Grainne Walsh won her Olympic Qualifier quarter-final in Italy today, yet it’s her opponent that will be going to Paris.

The Tullamore boxer came within a hair’s breadth of realising her Olympic dream when she fought old foe Aneta Rygielska in Busto Arsizio, near Milan.

The St Mary’s Tallaght fighter finished the three-round fight ahead on two of the judge’s scorecards and level on the remaining three.

Such a score suggests the back-to-back Elite Champion finished the clash with more points than the fighter she fought three times previous, and thus should have progressed to the Paris 2024 Olympics.

However, that is not what transpired. The IOC rule in the case of three or more drawn cards advises that the judges who scored the bouts a draw should pick a winner. In this case, the three who had drawn cards leaned the way of Rygielska and she advances at Walsh’s expense.

The rule reads as follows:

8.1.2. Tie-breaks If the total scores awarded by each Judge, including any deduction, are equal at the end of the Bout, the Judge(s) with equal scores is/are requested to nominate which Boxer is the winner of the Bout in their opinion in the following cases: One (1) Judge has even scores, and the total scores of the other four (4) Judges are evenly split; or Two (2) Judges have even scores and the other three (3) Judges do not score unanimously; or Three (3) or more Judges have even scores understands there is a precedent of a decision similar to Walsh’s being appealed to no avail, which in turn indicates an appeal would prove futile.

The law is an IOC and Olympic one, this tournament is not governed by the IBA, although their rule book on scoring reads very similar.

Photo Credit Tara Robins


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