Olympics: Boxing lives on borrowed time

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The Independent Online
GOLF, water skiing and triathlon may soon be Olympic sports - but boxing is one of several sports which are unlikely to feature in the 2000 Games.

'We need to modernise the Games. There are sports which can be brought in and sports in the Games which are out of date,' Juan Antonio Samaranch, the International Olympic Committee president, said yesterday.

'I have asked Philippe Chatrier to draw up a blueprint for the future,' Samaranch added. Chatrier, the former International Tennis Federation president, will present his plans to the Olympic Congress in Paris next year.

Samaranch is expected to press for the exclusion of boxing, modern pentathlon and Greco-Roman wrestling. Modern pentathlon, which consists of show jumping, fencing, shooting, swimming and running, was the idea of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who revived the modern Games in 1894.

'Whatever shape we take the Games will not get any bigger. There may be more sports but there will be fewer events and they will be limited to 10,000 competitors,' Samaranch said. He wants to eliminate all team competitions where there is already an individual event. For example, he would retain the individual fencing events, but cut out the team fencing competitions. However, team sports such as football and hockey would be retained.

British equestrian officials were dealing with more pressing and practical matters yesterday than the future of their sport within the Olympic movement. They were relieved to give a clean bill of health to their three-day event horses, who endured a one- hour delay in being unloaded from a stifling plane.

The horses - together with several mounts from other teams which are trained and stabled in the United Kingdom - flew to Barcelona in special boxes on a two-hour flight from London. 'It was a short flight in a properly air-conditioned plane,' Malcolm Wallace, the team manager, said, 'but after they landed they had to wait for two other planes in front of them to unload. It started to get very hot, but they opened the doors and eventually it got a little cooler. It was uncomfortable for the horses, but fortunately there are no long-term effects.'

British officials have flown in special food for the horses, including vacuum-packed grass. 'We have to make sure it's all free from prohibitive substances because horses get dope-tested as well as the riders,' Wallace said.

Andres Gomez, the former French Open champion, has withdrawn from the tennis tournament with an ankle injury. The 32-year- old Ecuadorean, who won the Roland Garros title in 1990, failed to recover from an injury received during the Gstaad tournament in Switzerland two weeks ago.

Gomez reached No 4 in the world in 1990, but has since dropped to No 85. Ken Farrar, the tournament supervisor, will decide before today's draw whether to replace Gomez or give his first- round opponent a bye.