February 23 - Elizabeth Plank (pictured), the London-based amateur boxer who led a major campaign asking that female boxers be given the right to choose whether to wear shorts or skirts in the ring, has expressed her delight after the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) confirmed that women will be given the option of what to wear.
Details of the plan were unveiled by AIBA President C K Wu at the fifth World Conference on Women and Sport in Los Angeles as he claimed: "The decision we have made is that we shall make it optional because many boxers are undecided."
The decision from AIBA came after almost 60,000 people joined Plank's online campaign to give women the option of what to wear in competition and the amateur boxer claims that AIBA's decision represents a major boost not only for women's boxing but for women's sport in general.
"I am thrilled with the AIBA's decision to allow female boxers the self-determination to choose a uniform that best suits their level of skill and comfort," Plank told insidethegames.
"We now celebrate a huge victory for female boxers which will set the stage for future debates regarding women in sports.
"Although there are still mountains to climb and heights to summit, this small victory serves as a considerable reminder that discrimination will no longer be tolerated.
"The sporting industry is now fully aware that female athletes will no longer stand for discrimination and neither will the public.
"Our concerns have been addressed and the faith of female athletes is now in their own hands.
"Whether they choose to do it in a skirt or in shorts, the focus can now be returned to their abilities rather than their uniform.
"Skirts are an option and sexism no longer is."
Plank also paid huge tribute to all the people who got involved in the campaign that made AIBA settle on optional wear for women.
"Witnessing the leverage people have when they unite and stand strong is truly inspiring and uplifting," she said.
"I sincerely thank every single person who signed, supported and shared the petition.
"If I could, I would give each and every 58,382 of you an individual high-five.
"Thanks for keeping up the fight."
Women's boxing will make its official Olympic debut at London 2012 but the controversial issue of forcing women to wear skirts had dominated the lead up to the competition.
But after vocal criticism from the likes of Plank, the AIBA technical and rules commission recommended that women should be given the option of what to wear in a decision that was ratified by the AIBA Executive Board Bureau last week.
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