Seeking to end four years of administrative turmoil, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) was on Sunday voted to office with businessman Ajay Singh becoming its President following an overwhelming win in the elections declared "free and fair" by the International Boxing Association (AIBA).
Singh, the Chairman and Managing Director of Spicejet Airlines, got 49 votes against the 15 that his rival Rohit Jain of Delhi polled in the election which had observers from AIBA as well as the Sports Ministry to monitor the proceedings.
While AIBA was represented by its Oceania Zone Vice-President Edgar Tanner, the Ministry had deputed Sports Authority of India Director Sushmita Jyotsi as an observer.
Jyotsi also expressed satisfaction with the process after the results were announced.
The 51-year-old Singh, who was representing Uttarakhand, is an accomplished businessman credited for turning around the fortunes of Spicejet, an airlines he founded before selling off his majority stakes in 2005.
He bought back his share last year when the company was in dire straits and steered it towards profits. Singh is one of the Vice Presidents in the Uttarakhand Boxing Association.
He was a late entrant to the race and sources said Singh had the backing of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), which however, did not depute any observer for today’s proceedings despite requests by IOC and the AIBA.
"Our priority now will be to bring back boxing to where we were — in the top-10 in the world or even top-five. We should put behind the politics of last four years and focus on boxing, boxers, coaches etc. We will start conducting various Nationals now," Singh said in a post-election press conference.
"We have plans to start a boxing league and have international competitions. We will formally seek affiliation from AIBA," he added.
Maharashtra’s Jay Kowli was elected the Secretary General, garnering 48 votes against the 12 by his nearest rival Lenny D’Gama of Goa. The third candidate in the fray, Haryana’s Rakesh Thakran, fetched only 4 votes.
Interestingly, Kowli had been voted out of this position only last year by the same state units, which voted overwhelmingly for him on Sunday.
At that time, he was the Secretary General of Boxing India, which was dissolved following a revolt by the state units.
Assam’s Hemanta Kumar Kalita had been elected unopposed as Treasurer at the end of the nomination process earlier this week.