Female boxers at the London Olympics will be allowed to wear either a skirt or shorts under a new amendment to amateur boxing rules.
The International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) quietly updated several rules on its website Thursday, March 1. The governing body’s final decision stopped far short of requiring or even recommending skirts to the athletes in the first Olympic women’s boxing tournament this summer.
In a new sentence in the Competition Uniform section, AIBA ruled that female boxers will wear “either shorts or the option of a skirt.” The new rule specifies no particular length for the skirt.
In the past year, AIBA faced international criticism and sexism charges for encouraging female fighters to try wearing skirts in competition. AIBA president Wu Ching-Kuo said he heard from fans and amateur boxing officials who claimed they couldn’t tell women from men, particularly on television, because fighters wear the same protective headgear.
Although AIBA insisted it never contemplated requiring boxers to wear skirts, its debate of the issue enraged women’s rights advocates in recent months. The debate also divided boxers and their coaches in a sport still struggling for worldwide acceptance after women’s boxing was added to the Olympic program in 2009, Associated Press reported.