Boxing Australia coach quits Olympics over misconduct claims

Boxing Australia’s national coach has withdrawn from the Paris Olympics after admitting to bullying and sexual misconduct towards female fighters.

Jamie Pittman was accused of 11 different code of conduct breaches following overseas tours last year by the Combat Institute of Australia, acting on behalf of several elite boxers.

The National Sports Tribunal, an independent government body established to resolve sports-related disputes, heard damning evidence against him last month, details of which only became public on Wednesday.

During the hearing, Pittman, 42, said he felt “ashamed and embarrassed” and would not contest the findings, accepting that “certain comments he made were inappropriate”.

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“Once he considered the evidence, he … didn’t want to cause any further stress or anxiety to the athletes who were preparing for the upcoming Olympic Games, withdrew his expression of interest to coach at those Games and accepted the breach,” the tribunal heard.

Contacted by the Sydney Daily Telegragh Wednesday, Pittman declined to elaborate on the allegations, but confirmed he would not be attending the Olympics in July.

“They have already named the team … I didn’t apply for the Olympics.” Pittman, who represented Australia at the 2004 Olympics and fought for the WBA middleweight title four years later, was appointed as national coach in late 2021.

The National Sports Tribunal recommended he be suspended for six months from November 9, 2023.

It also ruled that he provide written apologies to his victims and undergo counselling.

Australian boxers, including female members, described Pittman’s conduct as “shocking, gross and inappropriate”, leaving them feeling “embarrassed”.

Speaking to the Herald Sun, Pittman did not elaborate on the allegations, but confirmed he would not be travelling to the Paris Olympics.

“I withdrew my application in January to focus on my role (as National Futures coach),” he said.

“They have already named the team … I didn’t apply for the Olympics.”

A submission from the national coach’s legal team said Pittman did not intend to cause offence.

“Whilst he accepts the findings, Mr Pittman contends that he was not consciously engaging in the alleged conduct and was not aware of his alleged actions or of how they would be perceived by others,” the submission read.

“He acknowledges that certain comments he made were inappropriate and unintended to cause offence to some members of the team.”

An AOC spokesman said: “The AOC has noted the judgement by the National Sports Tribunal, including the sanctions handed down.

“Mr Pittman has voluntarily stood down from the Australian Olympic Committee’s Indigenous Advisory Committee for the immediate future.”