Boxing Federation of India (BFI) President Ajay Singh on Wednesday admitted that politics in sports have cut short a lot of promising careers.
“There is a lot of politics in sports… politics does keep a lot of sportspersons down and I think it’s a great shame and pity that in a country with 1.3 billion people we return from the Olympics with only two medals,” Singh told reporters here, during the launch of the Indian Open of Boxing along with the cast of upcoming Bollywood movie Mukkabaaz.
“This is a situation that really needs to be addressed and it can be done only when administrators are actually going to focus on the sportspersons and not on themselves or the politics of the sport.”
Singh also praised the Union Sports Ministry for supporting the sports federations with all facilities and called on fellow sports administrators to reciprocate the trust shown by the ministry, by working for the betterment of the athletes.
The BFI President also announced a slew of tournaments that will be staged later during the year. Immediately, the inaugural $100,000 Indian Open of Boxing will be held at the Thyagaraj Stadium here from January 28 to February 1.
The Indian Open will witness the participation of four Indian teams across all 10 categories, Singh said: “We have the India Open for the first time from January 28 to February 1 where we have 25 countries taking part.”
“All the leading boxing nations like Cuba, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Russia will be participating. There will be four Indian teams taking part in the tournament to be held at the Thyagaraj Stadium here.”
The gold medallists in the Indian Open will win a purse of $2,500 while the silver medallists will earn $1,000. The two bronze medallists in each category will get richer by $500 each.
Singh also announced the dates for the home ties of the World Series of Boxing (WSB), adding that the team will be announced shortly.
“We also have the World Series of Boxing (WSB) where India will be participating after a long gap. The home matches will be held on March 23 while the away matches will be in early February. We will be announcing the team very soon,” he said.
“We are also going to host the Elite women World Championships in November this year. Before that, we will have the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games,” he added.
Highlighting the highs in Indian boxing since the BFI took charge in September 2016, Singh ackowleged that there is still a lot to be achieved to turn the country into a boxing power house.
“Boxing did not have an elected sports federation for many years. We have just had the BFI for the last one year. In this last one year, a lot of progress has been made. Indian boxers are winning medals across the world,” he said.
“We have coaching camps going on throughout the year in every category. We have an incredibly large number of championships that are being conducted.
“Recently, for the first time in our history, India conducted the Youth Women World Championship in Guwahati where our girls impressed with five gold and two bronze medals. Before this, India had just one bronze in the previous Women Youth Worlds.
“The world body AIBA said this was the best ever conducted championship, which was an incredible experience for us,” he added.