Kitchener boxer Mandy Bujold receives support from federal government, Lennox Lewis
KITCHENER -- Kitchener boxer Mandy Bujold now has a member of the federal government and a local boxing legend in her corner.
In a lengthy letter directly addressed to International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, Canada's minister responsible for sport asked Bach to reconsider their decision to keep Bujold from competing at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
In the letter Steven Guilbeault, whose official title is Minister of Canadian Heritage, said excluding Bujold from the upcoming Olympics does not reflect the vales of gender equality, female empowerment or encouraging mothers in sport.
Bujold was denied a bid at the Tokyo Games after the pandemic cancelled qualifying events, andinstead ranking points from 2018 – a year the boxer was on maternity leave – were used to determine eligibility.
"Making the decision to become a mother in 2018 should not penalize Ms. Bujold from having the opportunity to compete in the Olympic Games based upon a specified timeframe decided retroactively by the IOC, a timeframe where Ms. Bujold was pregnant and then on maternity leave caring for her new child," Guilbeault wrote in the letter.
She chose to start a family in 2018 and missed some tournaments that the IOC, because of the pandemic, would later decide that is how they will qualify female fighters for Olympic status. @MandyBujold was ranked No. 2 in the America’s before her pregnancy…— Lennox Lewis, CBE, CM (@LennoxLewis) May 14, 2021
A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help Bujold cover the legal costs of her fight against the IOC's ruling. As of Tuesday morning, it has brought in more $25,000.
A spokesperson for the IOC previously told CTV Kitchener that there's a "consistent process" to the Olympics' qualification system.
“The determination of the boxing qualification system is based on transparent and non-discriminatory qualification principles and includes a thorough assessment and consultations with teams, Boxing Task Force (BTF) Athlete Ambassadors, BTF experts group representatives, and medical advisors,” the IOC said in a statement earlier this month.
The Tokyo Olympic Games begin July 23.