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Turkish boxing chief slams London Olympic event

 ISTANBUL, March 26: Turkey’s boxing federation on Thursday slammed organisers of an Olympic qualifying tournament in London after three Turkish fighters and a coach tested positive for the coronavirus.

The London competition featured around 350 male and female boxers from dozens of European nations and was the first opportunity for boxers from Europe to qualify for Tokyo 2020.

“The International Olympic Committee Boxing Task Force and the local committee in London — responsible for the organisation — acted as if nothing happened rather than postpone the tournament over coronavirus while every corner of the world has been on fire since December,” Eyup Gozgec, president of the Turkish Boxing Federation, told AFP in a phone interview.

The Boxing Road to Tokyo event started on Saturday and was scheduled to run until Tuesday behind closed doors. But it was suspended after three days over growing coronavirus fears.

Gozgec, who is also the vice-president of the European Boxing Confederation, said his team went to London on March 11 to prepare for the tournament but found no protective measures in place at their hotel or elsewhere.

“There were no protective measures in the hotels we were staying, whether it be hygenic disinfectants, gloves or a warning sign,” he told AFP.

“All the coaches and athletes ate in self-service style from the same kitchen. There was neither a warning nor any other measure as if the virus had not visited there.”

Organisers of the boxing qualifiers said before the event started that measures had been put in place to protect competitors. – AFP

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