Berlin: Women's boxing will make its Olympic debut at the 2012 London Games, giving all 26 sports on the programme both female and male competitors.
The International Olympic Committee added the event to the programme yesterday during a meeting of the executive board.
"It's a great addition," IOC president Jacques Rogge said. "The sport of women's boxing has progressed a lot, a tremendous amount, in the last five years. It was about time to include it in the Olympic Games."
Women boxers will compete in three weight classes, with 12 competitors each in flyweight, lightweight and middleweight. In order to make room for the 36 boxers, one of the 11 men's classes will be dropped.
"We made an internal adjustment ... to keep the quota," international boxing federation president C.K. Wu said. "This is a very important guideline by the IOC. [If] you want to increase the quota, it's not easy."
The IOC has a limit of 286 boxers in the Olympics, so only 250 men will be allowed to compete in London. Still, the men will fight for 10 medals while the women compete for three.
"There are still major disparities in the number of medals women can win compared to men but this is a step in the right direction," British Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell said.
Sue Tibballs, the chief executive of the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation, was also happy with the decision.
"With the sport dating back to the 1970s, it has been a long, hard fight to get to today's decision but we hope it represents a wider move towards greater equality at the games," Tibballs said.
Like men's boxing, the women's competition will be confined to amateurs.
"We don't allow professionals," said Wu, who added that the world championships would likely serve as the qualifying competition. Four years ago, women's boxing was rejected as an Olympic sport for failing to reach standards of medical safety and universality.
"From the medical point of view, we've checked everything," Rogge said.
Berlin (Reuters) Golf and rugby sevens took a major step towards securing their inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games after being shortlisted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) yesterday.
The two sports, which last featured in the Olympics more than 80 years ago, were selected from seven candidate sports by the IOC's executive board and a final vote on their inclusion will be held at the IOC session in Copenhagen in October.