Kitchener’s Bujold officially named to Olympic team

It’s official: Canadian boxer Mandy Bujold is in Tokyo.

Bujold was named to Canada’s five-man Olympic boxing team on Wednesday, a week after she won her human rights complaint in the Swiss Sports Arbitration Court for participating in the Games.

“I’m very excited to be working with Team Canada on my second Olympics,” said Bujold in a press release. “I’m ready and looking forward to showing my skills on the biggest stage.”

It’s officially official! I will represent @teamcanada in Tokyo! I am very excited about this opportunity and look forward to attending my 2nd Olympic Games
None of this would be possible without my incredible team. We worked hard, stayed focused and now I’m so ready!

– Mandy Bujold (@MandyBujold) July 7, 2021

Tammara Thibeault, Myriam Da Silva, Caroline Veyre and Wyatt Sanford qualified via their world rankings, based on competitions in 2018 and ’19, according to the IOC Boxing Task Force’s selection criteria. They will make their Olympic debut.

Bujold, an 11-time national flyweight champion, was appealed after the Buenos Aires Olympic trials were canceled earlier this year due to rising COVID-19 cases in Argentina. The task force then determined the berths based on the world ranking, but Bujold had missed the three events they wanted to use retrospectively for the ranking due to her pregnancy.

Bujold lost an appointment with the IOC, leaving the CAS as a last chance for Tokyo.

The 33-year-old from Kitchener, Ontario made international headlines in her fight and received the support of numerous high-profile individuals, including retired tennis star Billie Jean King and former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis.

“What an inspiration Mandy Bujold has been to our entire Canadian team – her dedication and persistence in fighting for her rights outside of the ring matched her incredibly creative training in the ring,” said Marnie McBean, Canada’s chief de mission for Tokyo. “Our first-time Olympic boxers have an amazing leader among them. They are all going to be so exciting to see.”

Thibeault, from Shawinigan, Que., Is a silver medalist at the Pan Am Games in the 75kg category and a bronze medalist at the 2019 World Championships and the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

“It took a long time,” said Thibeault. “I look forward to this next step. I am very close to realizing my lifelong dream and I am very grateful for all the time and effort everyone has put into this journey.”

Da Silva from Chambly, Que., Will box in the 69kg class, while Veyre from Montreal will compete at 57kg – the first time these women’s weight categories have been featured in the Olympic program.

“As a boxer since 2007, I am delighted and especially proud to take part in the first ever Olympic edition of the women’s welterweight,” said Da Silva, a three-time Canadian champion. “This addition is an important advancement for girls in this sport and sport I am proud to be part of this group to further advance women’s boxing.”

Veyre won gold at the 2015 Pan American Games.

“I’ve dreamed about this moment for so long,” she said. “There is no greater achievement for an athlete.”

Sanford of Kennetcook, NS, will box in the welterweight (69 kg) category.

“Boxing may be an individual sport, but it’s the team and the community around us that help us achieve our goals and that helped me make it to my first Olympics,” said Sanford.

Canada’s last Olympic boxing medal was a silver medal from David Defiagbon in Atlanta in 1996.

No Canadian has climbed the podium since women’s boxing was added to the Olympic program in 2012. Bujold in 2016 and Mary Spencer in 2012 both finished fifth. Bujold’s result was heartbreaking after battling an illness in the hospital the night before her quarter-finals.

The Tokyo Olympics will open on July 23rd.

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