Olympics-Boxing body seeks to calm skirt controversy

BERNE Fri Nov 4, 2011 1:38pm EDT

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BERNE Nov 4 (Reuters) - Amateur boxing's governing body will sound out competitors and the public before deciding whether women should wear skirts instead of shorts in the ring at next year's London Olympics.

AIBA spokesman Sebastien Gillot said on Friday that the world body had never suggested skirts should be compulsory and the association was surprised at the way a clothing controversy had snowballed in the last week.

"It's quite frustrating to see the way in which this news has been going around," he told Reuters. "We are aware that it's a very sensitive issue."

Several women boxers have criticised attempts to encourage them to wear skirts for what seemed to be purely aesthetic reasons.

Lausanne-based AIBA said the 'uniform' issue would be discussed in January by its technical and rules commission, which would make recommendations for the executive committee to make a final ruling.

"At this point in time, AIBA is seeking a consensus from the worldwide boxing family and the wider public for reference purposes," said AIBA in a statement.

Women's boxing will be making its Olympic debut in London next year with three gold medals available.

The women were offered skirts for the first time at the world championships in Barbados last year.

The BBC said that at last year's European women's championships in Romania only Poland and Romania used skirts, the former designing their own and making them compulsory.

(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Alan Baldwin. To query or comment on this story email sportsfeedback@thomsonreuters.com)

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