Fragile, yet strong
Yuliya Apanasovich became the bronze medallist of the 2023 IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships
The 2023 IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships was held in New Delhi. Our women’s team, which included six boxers, went to it charged with success. Dreams of medals became a reality for one of the Belarusians — Yuliya Apanasovich returned to Belarus with bronze.
The athlete, competing in the weight category up to 52 kilogrammes, defeated the Romanian Alexandra Gheorghe in the first fight, and then in a stubborn fight she defeated Feruza Kazakova from Uzbekistan. In the quarter-final, Apanasovich left the Nepalese boxer Anjani Teli no chance and, having become a semi-finalist, she already guaranteed herself at least bronze. For her, the victory over Anjani Teli was the third in the tournament. However, this is the first fight that the Belarusian won by unanimous decision.
Alas, it was not possible to replace bronze with an award of the highest value: Yuliya lost to the Chinese Wu Yu. Nevertheless, bravo: Apanasovich is on a pedestal, and the Belarusian flag proudly flies in her honour under the arches of the arena in New Delhi!
Experienced Viktoriya Kebikova stopped one step away from the podium — she lost to Boora Saweety from India in the quarterfinals — the silver medallist of the 2014 World Championship, the winner and prize-winner of the Asian Championships. So, unfortunately for us, she won. The rest of our athletes completed the performance earlier. Yana Burim, like Aryna Danilchyk, finished their performance at the tournament at the Round of 16 stage. Two more Belarusians — Alina Veber and Alla Ivashkevich — a round later. Alina Veber lost to Frenchwoman Davina Michel, while Alla Ivashkevich lost to Hadjila Khelif from Algeria.
However, before these important struggles, the girls received a sickly shake-up: an earthquake of magnitude 6.8 that occurred in Afghanistan came to India. The participants of the 2023 IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships even had to be evacuated from the hotel.
According to the head coach of the Russian team Albert Mutalibov, many were in hotel rooms at that time, and those who arrived from the evening session went to the dining room. Belarusian Yana Burim was caught by the earthquake in her room. The athlete shared the details on her Instagram page, “I was lying down and suddenly felt that the bed was moving left and right. Slightly at first, and then straight up shaking. There were screams, clatter in the corridor. Evacuation started, which showed that our beautiful hotel has huge problems with the exit system. We changed several exits before we found the one that leads to the street. Thankfully we had enough time...”
The 2023 IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships, taking place in New Delhi, is the first international competition in Olympic sports in many months, in which Russian and Belarusian athletes take part. Their admission to competitions, as well as the lifting of the ban on the use of national symbols, caused a flurry of discontent in a number of countries — officials simply banned the athletes representing them from participating in the tournament. However, not everyone agreed with this. The Dutchwoman Megan De Claire decided not to miss the opportunity to show her best at the 2023 IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships — she entered the opening ceremony under a neutral flag. The reaction of the President of the Boxing Federation of the Netherlands Boris van der Vorst (who, by the way, was to become the main competitor of Umar Kremlev in last year’s election of the head of the International Boxing Association, but his candidacy was declared invalid due to violations of the rules of the IBA) did not have to wait long, “We believe that Meghan de Claire’s registration for the 2023 IBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in India is a violation of the IBA’s technical and competitive rules, and requested an immediate clarification from the IBA. We also believe that this undermines the authority and independence of the Netherlands Boxing Federation, with broader implications for the governance of the sport as a whole.” Alas, Megan De Claire did not reach the podium, but she became the only athlete from the boycotting countries who dared to go against the politicised decisions of officials.
By Tatiana Pastushenko