AIBA president: 'We will send observer for Boxing Federation of India elections'

The International Boxing Association president Umar Kremlev said that the world body will send an observer for the BFI presidential elections on February 3.

Incumbent Ajay Singh is being challenged by BJP leader and former Mumbai Cricket Association head Ashish Shelar for the president's post.   -  Kamal Narang

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) president Umar Kremlev on Monday said that the world body will send an observer for the Boxing Federation of India's presidential elections on February 3, a request that came from the BFI itself to ensure "free and fair polls".

In an e-mail interview, Kremlev, who took charge in December last year, also said that AIBA's relationship with India has mended after the bitter row over payment of pending dues by BFI was resolved.

"We have excellent relations with all our National Federations, including India. The issue of all payments for the World Championships was resolved and finally closed," Kremlev said.

"We will certainly send a competent observer from AIBA to the presidential elections in the Boxing Federation of India. Our task is to ensure complete transparency and democracy in each National Federation," he added.

READ: Ashish Shelar files nomination for Boxing Federation of India president's post

The election observer, according to a BFI source, is expected to arrive either tomorrow or on the day of polls and a negative COVID-19 test report would be enough to ensure the person's presence during the proceedings on Wednesday.

Incumbent Ajay Singh is being challenged by BJP leader and former Mumbai Cricket Association head Ashish Shelar for the president's post.

The 39-year-old Kremlev, who was an office-bearer in the Russian Boxing Federation earlier, also spoke about the massive challenge of bringing AIBA back into the International Olympic Committee's fold.

The IOC had suspended AIBA in 2019, alleging mismanagement in governance and Kremlev is aiming to change that during his tenure.

"Of course, this is a very ambitious task, however, I became the AIBA President to complete it, to put things in order, and return AIBA to the Olympic Family.

"I have no personal ambitions; my goal is to ensure the well-being of athletes and coaches. Only united, together with our National Federations, can we regain the trust of the IOC," he asserted.

And in pursuit of this goal, Kremlev expects India to have a key role.

"India is undoubtedly a very important country on the boxing map with rich traditions and strong boxers. I will be glad to personally visit India on one of my official trips, to communicate with the leadership and athletes.

"I am confident that India will make a great contribution to our joint work to restore the reputation of AIBA," he said.

Apart from this, Kremlev, like all other sports administrators across the world, is assessing the impact of COVID-19 and promised dynamic measures to ensure that boxing events are conducted safely. Competitions have resumed in many parts of the world and Indians too competed in December last year at a tournament in Germany.

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