Boxing Ban Issue and New Boxing Federation of India

On 20th December 2016, the AIBA, world body of boxing has fully recognized the newly formed Boxing Federation of India (BFI). With this, the four year administrative logjam in the sports has ended; and India’s return to the international boxing fold has been completed.

Background Story

The first governing body for boxing in India was Bombay Presidency Amateur Boxing Federation, which was set up in 1925, mostly due to efforts of its president HV Pointon. In 1949, Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) was formed. This IABF used to be in charge of running Boxing in India with respect to Olympics and was fairly cleanly run. Indian boxing had a say in world boxing in those times. However, after 2002, political influence started sneaking in and corruption and nepotism ensued leading to a fallout among the members.  These events coincided with a new leadership of the world boxing body AIBA (Association Internationale de boxe amateur) under Dr Ching–Kuo Wu of Taiwan in 2006, who aimed to stamp out corruption from the sport.

This was followed by several incidences involving Indian officials. The AIBA received a number of complaints from India on account of irregularities and misdoing of IABF. This resulted in suspension of IABF in 2012, and subsequently AIBA asked Indian Boxing Federation to hold fresh elections. However, that election was conducted dubiously and paved way for another politician to come in as its president. But this was not accepted to AIBA. Thus, IABF continued under suspension.

This was followed by creation of a new body called “Boxing India” and tried to conduct elections but then feud of the officials led to complete banning the Indian Boxing Federation. This ban continued till 20 December 2016. On 20 December, the AIBA executive body lifted the ban and granted full membership to newly formed Indian Boxing Federation under Ajay Singh after fully satisfying them on the genuineness of its election. With AIBA’s backing, India can now fully focus on preparing its boxers for the Olympics.

Impacts of Ban

As discussed above, prior to 2002, India had some say in the world boxing. This four year ban not only tarnished the image of India globally but also demotivator for the Indian boxers. During the ban, the Indian boxers were allowed to participate in the international events but Indian flag was not allowed to fly in the boxing arena. Thus, the Indian boxers were not representing India but participated only under banner of AIBA. Further, the Indian representatives of boxing were not permitted to attend the meetings of AIBA. The Indian officials were barred from conducting any boxing event under the banner of AIBA. Thus, Indian boxers participated without ring officials and this made a big difference on their performance. At home, the federation lost government recognition and thus no national level championships were held. The IOA also derecognized the federation and created a ad-hoc committee which never became functional.

How have the boxers coped up with the ban?

As discussed above, the main victims of the ban have been the boxers themselves. However, considering the limitations, they have performed quite well. Mary Kom has been awarded the AIBA legends award for her contribution to boxing. Sonia Lather has won the World Championships in the 57 kg category. In professional boxing, apart from Vijender Singh, Neeraj Goyat also successfully defended his WBC Asia Pacific welterweight title. This indicates, that both talent and grit is present in the current crop of Indian boxers. If the administrative issues can be rectified, Indian boxers have the potential to achieve greater accolades for the country.

Changes proposed by BFI in Boxing administration

One of the main reasons for the fall out was the disagreement between the state units and the parent body. The newly formed BFI addresses this and has also other suggested other improvements including:

  • Increasing 8 vice presidents from 8 zones from the previous 6 vice presidents in 6 zones
  • Elections under the supervision of AIBA and support of government
  • Revised constitution sent to AIBA for approval. Also, amendments will be made only after the election.

Conclusion

With international and local acceptance, Indian boxers will get the much needed funding and exposure to be competitive internationally. As a result of the BFI, Indian boxers are going to start training foreign training with Australian boxers in February,2018- for the first time in 5 years. This can result in better performances in the Asian Games 2018 and the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

Factbox: Trivia About Boxing in India

  • India made a debut in Olympic boxing with 1948 Olympics when it sent a seven member squad to London Olympics.
  • In 1952, Ron Norris became the first Indian boxer to reach to the quarterfinals of the Olympics.
  • In 1962, Padam Bahadur Mall became the first Indian to win Asian Games Gold in boxing.
  • Hawa Singh won two successive gold medals at the 1966 and 70 Asian Games.
  • In 1998, Dingko Singh won the gold medal at the Bangkok Asian Games.
  • In 2002, Mohammed Ali Qamar became the first Indian to win CWG gold at Manchester.
  • In 2008, Vijender won bronze to give India its first Olympic medal.
  • In 2009, Vijender won the India’s first World Championships medal (men) — a bronze in Milan.
  • In 2011, Vikas Krishan won bronze at the World Championships.
  • In 2012, Mary Kom gave India its second Olympic medal after women’s boxing was introduced at London.
Writing Practice / Discussion for CSE Mains

India’s performance in RIO Olympics 2016 is dispiriting especially in the boxing sport. What has been the reason of India being not able to perform well in boxing consistently. Do the recently reformulated Boxing Federation of India has the potential to change things on ground level. Discuss the steps taken by the federation after its formulation. Also suggest steps to improve and encourage the boxing sport in the country. Source

Topics:

Comments