Edgar Tanner: ‘India will be a force in world boxing’

Tanner observed: "The international boxing association (AIBA) has 200 national federations, representing 200 countries. One of the great nations of the world is India and we are looking forward to full membership for the new boxing federation in our list of national associations."

IBA Vice-President, Edgar Tanner (right) with SAI Director, Susmita Jyotsi, at the Boxing Federation of India election, in Mumbai.   -  Special Arrangement

Edgar Tanner and Susmita Jyotsi were the two heavyweights present at the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) elections on Sunday. The former was in Mumbai representing world boxing’s governing body, AIBA as one of its Vice-Presidents. The latter was the face of Sports Ministry as Sports Authority of India (Kandivali) Director. Both dignitaries expressed satisfaction at the process and were upbeat about the road ahead for Indian boxing.

Tanner observed: “The international boxing association (AIBA) has 200 national federations, representing 200 countries. One of the great nations of the world is India and we are looking forward to full membership for the new boxing federation in our list of national associations.” He was referring to the newly-elected BFI office-bearers. Spicejet co-founder Ajay Singh was chosen the president and boxing technical official Jay Kowli was elected the secretary-general.

The AIBA representative added: “I will be shortly advising the AIBA that I attended the meeting (in Mumbai) which had strong support from across the nation. The election was conducted well and fairly. After meeting with the new office-bearers, it appears to me that a strong administration will emerge. I believe the international association will be acting very quickly to incorporate the new boxing federation from India into its competitions and into its administrative affairs.”

Tanner is of the view that world boxing will see India return to the ring as a formidable force. “I am going to advice AIBA that we can expect Indian boxers to resume its strong showing once again internationally. The country was in top 10 boxing nations, unfortunately they had slipped. We at AIBA were sad that Indian teams could not march under their own flag or when a boxer won a title, the country’s anthem could not be heard by others. Those bad days are behind us.”

SAI Director, Susmita, observed: “The Sports Ministry is concerned about the performance of Indian boxers. We feel sorry that the Indian national anthem is not played at medals ceremonies in international competitions.” She added the National Sports Development Fund (under the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports) will help create jobs for sportspersons excelling at State and national meets, extending the benefits beyond international achievers.

Replying to a query about the follow-up by the newly-elected federation with world boxing body, BFI president Ajay Singh said: “The national federation has just been formed. We will request AIBA for a meeting and make use of world body resources to benefit our boxers, our coaches and our officials.” Kishen Narsi, chairman of the ad-hoc body constituted by AIBA to manage boxing in India, informed the issue of recognition to the Indian national federation is likely to be taken up at an AIBA Congress in December. Indian boxing has been in turmoil since 2012 when the world body removed Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) from its list of affiliated federations for mismanagement during elections.

Boxing India, formed subsequently, was dissolved in 2015 after revolt by State units against key office-bearers. Indian fighters and coaches suffered from shortage of opportunities to gain international experience due to AIBA’s decision. India’s presence in the ring at the Rio Olympics shrunk to three athletes, as against eight four years ago at London 2012.