Wed | Nov 25, 2020

JBB awaiting word on Olympic qualifiers

Published:Saturday | September 12, 2020 | 12:10 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer

Jamaica Boxing Board (JBB) president Stephen Jones says there is still no word from world governing body, FIBA, about when the next round of Olympic qualifiers will take place.

He says that if the postponements persist into next year then JBB will consider hosting another National Championships to ensure that they select the best boxers to represent Jamaica in the qualifiers.

Jamaica’s eight Olympic hopefuls, Jameer Edwards, Ricardo Brown, Lisa Frazer, Omar Campbell, Trevor Thonson, Damon O’Neill, Kheron Gilpin and Sanji Williams) were set to participate in the qualifiers in Argentina in March this year, but it was postponed because of COVID-19, as was the second set of qualifications in France in May. Though the respective boxers have maintained a strict training regimen, Jones said they would still have to reassess the situation.

“Right now is just frustration and all boxers, as much as they have been keeping themselves together, it gets to a points where it becomes taxing on them,” he said.

“At the Olympic level, you have to send the best to represent the country, so they not only have to keep themselves in tip-top physical condition but the mental aspect also plays a part. Because there is no sparring [at the moment], we have to reassess.

“Hopefully we get a date (from FIBA) that says there is a qualifier and a venue, so we can tailor our championships around it.”

FIBA is currently finding great difficulty in securing a host country for the postponed qualifiers but Jones is hoping the global health crisis improves before year end, as this, he says, will give JBB a better chance to prepare. However, many anticipate that the rescheduled qualifiers will not take place until March next year, and if things fail to improve after the turn of the year, Jones said he would be a bit worried.

“If by February they haven’t found a place, I don’t think they will be able to have it,” he said. “So it is a concern, yes, if the new year comes and they still don’t have an idea where it will be held.

“Also, if the Olympics is taking place, they will have to tell us which sporting disciplines we would have there. But that is a waiting game. When that comes, we will hear from the powers that be and we can make our decision as to what our athletes are willing to do and what we will be willing to work with,” he reasoned.

Jamaica has won medals in only two disciplines at the Olympic Games (track and field and cycling) and Jones is optimistic that this cohort of boxers could make boxing the third.

“After our last nationals, I thought we would have fielded the best team we have had in a while, male and female,” he said. “We were confident that we would qualify for the Olympics and qualifying is the first step. But what we want is to bring home medals. We have never won a medal in boxing at the Olympics and I am confident this can happen.”