Amateur federation cleans up tardy image

Joining International Testing Agency a chance to keep drug cheats out

Michael Conlan of Ireland publicly admonished officials of the International Boxing Federation.
Michael Conlan of Ireland publicly admonished officials of the International Boxing Federation.

The battered image of the International Boxing Federation (Aiba) endured at the last Olympic Games in Rio, including rampant doping, is gradually being cleaned.

Amid claims of corruption when well-known Irish boxer Michael Conlan publicly admonished the officials, showing them a middle finger, international amateur boxing simply found itself on its knees. But since the new leadership came to office following the row which eventually saw president Dr Ching-Kuo Wu being deposed, the international amateur boxing regulatory is taking steps to clean up its image.

This week it released a statement which listed it as the first international federation for an Olympic sport to officially join the newly-established International Testing Agency (ITA).

Following its previous relationship with the Doping Free Sports Unit of the Global Association of International Sports Federations, Aiba is fully outsourcing its anti-doping activities to the ITA, including testing, result management (for any anti-doping rule violations), intelligence-gathering, test-distribution planning, education and TUE exemptions.

Tom Virgets, executive director of Aiba, said protecting the athletes and the integrity of the sport was of utmost importance and anti-doping was at the top of Aiba’s priorities

“Our partnership with the ITA offers a new scope of anti-doping activities that our athletes and our officials can benefit from – we are looking forward to rolling out these programmes as soon as possible,” he said.

According to the statement sent to Boxing Mecca, the move reaffirms Aiba’s strong efforts to bring positive change and further improvements to its governance and anti-doping system.

Since Wo’s resignation, Gafur Rahimov has taken over the reins on an interim basis.“It has been a top priority for the Aiba interim president to improve the governance and anti-doping system,” the statement read.

In collaboration with ITA, Aiba will remain involved in anti-doping education for boxers and member federations.

Rahimov said: “Aiba is committed to clean sport and I am pleased that we are amongst the first Olympic International Federations to join the ITA. This new partnership is very much aligned with Aiba’s strategy going forward and represents a big milestone for our organisation and the future of boxing.”

Director-general of ITA, Benjamin Cohen, added that ensuring clean competitions was central to the integrity and reputation of any sport.

“Aiba’s proactive approach is completely consistent with the ITA’s position as an independent and trusted partner in the protection of clean sport. By entrusting the full range of its anti-doping programme to us at the ITA, we hope in turn that we can enable Aiba to focus fully on its core mission of developing boxing.

“We look forward to providing Aiba with our expertise and are fully committed to support Aiba in its fight against anti-doping.”