BFI Elections: BFI Elections: Boxing Federation of India’s president Ajay Singh outlines his plan if elected again | Boxing News – Times of India

The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) elections have literally spiced up with the entry of former Maharashtra sports minister Ashish Shelar, who is set to contest for the president’s post. TOI spoke to the incumbent president Ajay Singh, who took several probing questions on his chin and was candid with his replies.
It’s a high-stake BFI election coming up on December 18. Your first response to Mr. Ashish Shelar contesting against you?
It is a democratic country. He is most welcome to contest.
Many see it as a fight between two BJP persons. While he is a BJP politician, you share cordial relations with several BJP leaders…
To be honest, I don’t want to comment on the political angle. Ultimately, it’s about the sport. It is another issue that sports administration has always been less about sports and more about politics. That’s what we have been trying to change for the last four years, and I will continue to do so. All federations should first think about the sportspersons.
My policy is ‘athlete first’. I used to be constantly surprised at federation meetings, and it’s not just about boxing but in all sports, conversations largely centred around administrative matters, political matters and about how people are going to travel, which hotels they will stay in, what perks can be given to various people.
In the last four years, we have treated our boxers as the most important people. We made sure they stayed in comfortable accommodation, they travelled comfortably, they got proper training, all the camps around the country were revived, they got proper food and nutrition in these camps so that they could go to international competitions and bring medals for the country.
It has been a record number of medals at the international stage in the last four years. You can say anything to me, but you cannot contest numbers.

You see Mr. Jay Kowli, the secretary general of BFI, only proposed Mr. Shelar’s name and is backing him. So the fight is among the officials within the federation itself.
I am here for boxing and the boxers. It’s not that my earnings depend on being the president of a federation; I have a business to run. I have no vested interest, no politics to play. I have no interest in travelling abroad with the team, get free tickets, free hotels and stuff like that. Today, the Government of India treats boxing as one of the three priority sports because of the work we have done. All the sports ministers who’ve been in charge during my term so far have said that BFI is the best-run sporting federation in the country.
Allegation from the rival faction is that there is a deficit of Rs 7-8 crore on BFI because of the $5 lakh penalty imposed by AIBA for not hosting the men’s world championship next year…
That issue is well settled with AIBA. There is no penalty amount pending on BFI. In this case, there is some AIBA politics as well. When a country is rising in a sport, there’ll be politics. However, these things have been resolved amicably.
Suppose you’re elected again, what are the areas you will be focusing on and make sure that they are addressed?
Grassroots development is one thing I am really keen on. In a country of 130 crore people, we cannot have just 5 to 6 thousand registered boxers. This makes no sense; you have to get many more people. Boxing is a terrifically empowering sport. It doesn’t need so much money to play. We have to get many more kids from the grassroots to participate. The second issue is to get many more open championships. The third thing I would like to happen is much more emphasis on sports science.
India was to host the Asian Boxing Championships, but due to the Covid pandemic it was postponed. What’s the update on it?
We expect to hold the championship in the month of May next year, but everything depends on what is the status of Covid in the world and subsequently how things work out.
Keeping in mind the Tokyo Olympics, the next 7-8 months will be very crucial. What is your roadmap for the boxers leading up to the Olympics?
We’ve already started in that direction. We have sent our team to Europe. The boxers are training and participating in championships over there; they are getting back in good shape. We will leave no stone unturned to make sure they get the best practice in the world. When they come back to India – provided the situation is good – we expect to invite some of the top teams of the world to come and spar with our boxers. Hopefully, the Asian championship will also be held. Then we will be sending the boxers 20 days in advance to Tokyo so that they can acclimatise themselves.
Your message to the opposition?
We are one country, one team. All of us need to get together for the sport of boxing.

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