Canada’s Mandy Bujold wins battle to box in Tokyo Olympics

Canadian boxer Mandy Bujold has won her fight to participate in next month’s Tokyo Olympics.

Bujold said Wednesday the Court of Arbitration for Sport has ruled that the qualification criteria must include an accommodation for women who were pregnant or postpartum during the qualification period.

“I am excited to say that my legal battle was won,” Bujold, 33, said in a statement.

The Kitchener, Ont., fighter had originally been ruled ineligible to compete because she was pregnant and postpartum in 2018 and 2019 with her daughter Kate Olympia, the period the International Olympic Committee used to determine qualification after the global pandemic wiped out the 2020 competitive year.

Bujold had been ranked second in the world before her maternity leave, but didn’t compete in the three events used in the IOC’s revised ranking.

| Mandy Bujold on her fight to compete in Tokyo:

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Canadian Boxer Mandy Bujold speaks with Anastasia Bucsis on how she’s feeling after being denied an Olympic berth from the IOC. Arbitration pursuit will be a last-ditch effort for her to obtain entry into Tokyo Games 4:44

The 11-time national flyweight champion had been confident she’d clinch a berth at the Olympic qualifying tournament in May in Buenos Aires, but the event was cancelled due to climbing COVID-19 case numbers in Argentina.

Bujold and her lawyer, Sylvie Rodrigue, had originally petitioned the IOC  for a berth but were turned down and appealed to the CAS. 

Bujold, a two-time Pan American Games champion, will be the first woman to box for Canada at consecutive Olympics. An illness derailed her dreams at the 2016 Rio Games and she finished fifth.

Bujold said her fight for qualification was more about gender equality than it was about her Olympic status.

“My Olympic berth is not what matters here,” Bujold said in her statement.

“What matters is the reoccurring pattern of gender inequality in sport. Women should not be punished for being women. They should be respected for the unique challenges they face and continually overcome.”

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