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The Canadian minister for sports has asked the International Olympic Committee to reconsider its decision to exclude boxer Mandy Bujold from the Tokyo Games, in a letter obtained by AFP on Tuesday.

The IOC refused to grant the two-time Pan American and 11-time Canadian national champion a spot at the games as she’d missed qualifying competitions in 2018 and 2019, when she was pregnant and then on maternity leave. Two more recent qualifying bouts were canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The decision to become a mother in 2018 should in no way penalize Ms. Bujold and prevent her from participating in the Olympic Games,” Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault wrote in the May 13 letter to the IOC’s president Thomas Bach and board.

In it, he “asks the IOC to reconsider its decision to exclude Mandy Bujold from the Tokyo Games.”

“The exclusion of Canadian boxer Mandy Bujold from the Olympics sends a negative message to female athletes: you can be an athlete or a mother, but not both,” the minister tweeted on Tuesday.

Bujold, 33, had finished fifth at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

She asked the IOC at the end of April to review its selection criteria for the upcoming Tokyo Games, while also appealing its decision at the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

She told CBC Sports she hopes to podium before retiring from the sport after the Games.

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