THE announcement of the boxing team for this year’s Commonwealth Games was only made after the hearing of an appeal – the first from any of the sports who have so far named team members.
When Boxing Scotland forwarded their list of nine competitors to Commonwealth Games Scotland, Kieran Smith, not Aston Brown, was included in the 75-kilogram weight category. Brown appealed, but was told on Tuesday that he had been unsuccessful.
While Smith’s victory over Brown in last month’s Scottish Championships informed the selection panel’s decision, it was not in itself decisive. “It was one factor,” said Fraser Walker, chief operating officer of Boxing Scotland. “The Scottish Championships were a scoring opportunity as per the selection policy.
“This time round, the selection policy was deliberately more objective rather than subjective. Previously, in Melbourne, Manchester and Games before that, the standard practice was, if somebody won the Scottish Championships, that was kind of the golden ticket to the Commonwealth Games. We thought that was the wrong approach, because one performance doesn’t necessarily make you the best swimmer, athlete, boxer or whatever.
“So, this time round we implemented a points-based system along with other mechanisms such as attendance at training sessions, weight management etc. But the more obvious one was the point-scoring opportunity at different competitions, which were weighted in terms of difficulty.”
While sports such as swimming are able to nominate three competitors per event as long as they have the qualifying times, each country can only nominate one boxer per category. In other words, even though Smith and Brown, who reached the last 16 at last year’s World Championships, might both be good enough to contend for medals at Glasgow 2014, Boxing Scotland had to choose one or the other.
“In quite a few of the weights there was more than one boxer in contention,” Walker added. “In the 75kg category two boxers had made the minimum standard. It was a close decision.”
The final berth, at 69kg, will be decided on Saturday when Lewis Benson and Connor Law compete in a box-off.