By Tom Degun in Baku

2011_aiba_world_championships_26-09-11September 26 - The Baku 2020 bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Games has suffered an early setback after a series of technical problems delayed the start of the International Boxing Association (AIBA) 2011 World Boxing Championships here, drawing huge criticism from officials at the world governing body for boxing.

Baku is hoping that staging a successful 2011 World Championships will show the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that the Azerbaijani capital is capable of hosting world-class sporting competition that would act as a solid platform for their 2020 bid announced last month.

However, the first day of competition at the Heydar Aliyev Sports and Exhibition Complex got off to the worst possible start as a string of problems involving the technical equipment and the logistics caused the opening bouts to be delayed by nearly an hour, infuriating the boxers who did not know whether to compete their warm-up or not.

"We are so angry with the Local Organising Committee," a senior AIBA official told insidethegames.

"In terms of organisation, this is one of the worst AIBA events in history and we are having to manage everything on our own because of their incompetence.

"The technical problems are one thing but we were also told that there was no ambulance in place and we said that if there is no ambulance, the competition will not go ahead.

"It is embarrassing for them, especially considering that they have just put forward a bid for the Olympics."

A technical delegate for the event said: "I hope that we improve as we continue because this is embarrassing.

"The boxers are confused and are getting tired in their warm up.

"We have staged smaller events here in the past and the organisation was much better than this so there must be some internal problems at the Local Organising Committee.

"It is difficult to say why it is not going well."

Undoubtedly part of the problem has come from staging the Opening Ceremony in the venue and then having to transform it overnight but the problems came later yesterday evening when key facilities such as the venue media centre was still not complete and the transport systems to and from the venue stopped running properly.

London 2012 boxing competition manager Matt Archibald is currently in Baku for the World Championships.

He delivered a speech at the AIBA Extraordinary Congress on the Olympic boxing competition at the ExCeL next year and surveyed the start of the boxing competition in Baku.

"This trip has reinforced the importance of testing everything before the start of competition," Archibald told insidethegames.

"We will be doing exactly that ahead of the 2012 Olympics.

"We have our official Olympic test event in November where we will be looking very specifically at all the technical elements of the competition and we will have another testing session shortly before the Olympics get underway to make sure nothing is left to chance."

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