IOC weighs women's boxing for 2012 Games
Women's boxing, mixed doubles in tennis and 50-metre sprints in swimming are among the events being considered this week for inclusion in the 2012 London Olympics.
The International Olympic Committee's executive board will meet in Berlin on Thursday to consider a range of changes put forward by the 26 summer Olympic sports federations.
The board also will recommend two sports for inclusion in the 2016 Olympics, with golf and rugby sevens the favourites in a group that also includes baseball, softball, karate, squash and roller sports.
The 15-member board must weigh its stated goals of gender equality and universality while keeping within a limit of 10,500 athletes.
The most dramatic change for 2012 would be the introduction of women's classes in boxing, the only summer Olympic sport exclusively for men.
"The thousands of female athletes who practise religiously and compete in national, intercontinental and international competition with the dream of one day, possibly, being able to celebrate the world's greatest sporting occasion, deserve the opportunity," said Richard Baker, spokesman for boxing's governing body AIBA.
Time is right: Rogge
AIBA is proposing that 40 female boxers compete in London, with eight in each of five weight categories. They range from 104 pounds, comparable to the men's light flyweight class, up to 165 pounds, equal to the men's middleweights.
Men's boxing would lose 40 places across 11 weights to keep the sport within its limit of 286 Olympic athletes.
IOC president Jacques Rogge has said the time is right for women's boxing after the proposal was rejected four years ago for failing to reach standards of medical safety and universality. However, its approval is not a certainty as some board members are not enthusiastic about adding women's boxing.
The Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation, a London-based group, urged the IOC on Tuesday to accept women's boxing as part of its stated drive for gender equity.
"Women's boxing at London 2012 would be a great step forward but women are still losing out in other Olympic sports," said Sue Tibballs, the foundation's chief executive. "In Beijing, 165 medals were available to men, versus 124 to women."