London 2012 - Jonas seeks higher profile for female boxers

Wed, 01 Dec 13:04:00 2010

British lightweight champion Natasha Jonas hopes it won't be long before female boxers are on a level playing field with their male counterparts on the Olympic stage.

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Women's boxing will feature for the first time at London 2012 as the International Olympic Committee agreed to crash through the final gender barrier and ensure all 26 sports are now open to both sexes.

It's a momentous step for the sport but one which has not been welcomed in all quarters and the Cuban Sports Federation have confirmed they will not be partaking in women's boxing at London 2012.

With the number of athletes competing at the Olympics near saturation point, only three women's categories have been added for London 2012, while the number of men's divisions drops from 11 to ten.

But Jonas, who cemented her spot as the British number one in her category at the inaugural GB Amateur Championships last month with a narrow 11-10 victory over Amanda Coulson, is hoping London is just the tip of the iceberg.

"With men getting ten categories and the women just getting three there is obviously still quite a bit of a big difference," said Jonas.

"In my weight division alone there are two other strong competitors but there is only one spot at the Olympics.

"You have to be the one selected to go to the qualifier - and then you have to qualify so it's not exactly going to be easy.

"But just to have women's boxing at the Olympics is massive for me and for the sport.

"Hopefully we can have a good showing in London and get a few more divisions in 2016."

Jonas will be looking to round off an up and down season on a high note, having been overlooked for the World Championships, and will turn her attentions to this month's multi-nations event in Sheffield.

Next year, the stand-out event for the 28-year-old is the European Championships and as the London 2012 draws ever closer, the women's podium squad will centralise their training at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield on a full-time basis.

That will see Jonas and co sharing the gym with the men's podium squad every Monday to Thursday - and the four-time ABA champion believes that can rubber stamp her spot at London 2012.

"The major one for us next year is the Europeans," she added.

"Obviously you have to be the one selected to go to the one qualifier that we have so hopefully all goes well and I can transfer my domestic form into some international form.

"At the moment we train Thursday to Sunday in Sheffield every other week with the men's development squad.

"A lot of the boys in the podium squad have been around for a while and some of them have been to the last Olympics so just to gain experience by training with them will be great.

"We can speak to them about the nerves because there is going to be a lot of pressure so it'll be great for us."

More than the Games / Eurosport

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