BFI hopes to keep World Championships in Indiahttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/sport-others/bfi-hopes-to-keep-world-championships-in-india-5605906/

BFI hopes to keep World Championships in India

With the AIBA acting in compliance with the IOC recommendation to not grant India hosting rights for any 'Olympic-related' events, the elite tournament may become the biggest hosting casualty.

Mary Kom Boxing Final
Mary Kom won gold at the AIBA Women’s World Championships which were held in New Delhi last November. (Source: Gaurav Bhatt/Twitter)

The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) will approach the Indian government in its fight to remain hosts of the 2021 Men’s World Championships, after the International Boxing Association (AIBA) declared its intent to find a new host.

“The federation president (Ajay Singh) will be approaching officials in the government to get the necessary details to make sure we remain hosts for the World Championship,” said BFI secretary general Jay Kowli to The Indian Express. “He will put his best foot forward in his discussions because this is an important tournament for us as hosts and also for our upcoming boxers.”

India was awarded hosting rights for the New Delhi-based event back in 2017, making it the first time the country would host a men’s World Championship. As it stands though, with the AIBA acting in compliance with the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) recommendation to not grant the country hosting rights for any ‘Olympic-related’ events, the elite tournament may become the biggest hosting casualty.

“The 2021 men’s World Championship is very important for us in our preparation for the 2024 Paris Olympics,” Kowli said. “We have a number of young boxers who will be top prospects at the time, but for their preparation for Paris, the 2021 event is very important for us. If this tournament was a bilateral event, then it would have been a different matter. But a World Championship has a lot of prestige and there’s a lot at stake,” he added.

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The IOC’s recommendation came after the Indian government denied visas to a Pakistani team that was to compete at the New Delhi-held shooting World Cup. Political relations between the two countries have grown tense after the terror attack in Pulwama leading to the death of 44 CRPF personnel.

Subsequently, the AIBA, in response to a query by this newspaper, claimed that it “will study the possibility to re-open the bidding process” for the world event.

Back in November, the AIBA had already been irked by the failure of the Indian hosts of the women’s World Championship to provide a visa to Donjeta Sadiku of Kosovo – a European nation not officially recognised by the Indian government.

For the sanctions to be lifted, according to the IOC’s statement issued last week, it will require “clear written guarantees from the Indian government to ensure the entry of all participants in such events in full compliance with the rules of the Olympic Charter.”

At the same time, the BFI insists it will continue as host for the tournament in 2021.

“We have also requested the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narendra Batra to support us in this matter and help in the BFI’s discussions with the government,” Kowli added. “We will need to get this matter sorted out quickly because the AIBA will start looking for a new host soon to give that country enough time to prepare. But this is important for us.”

Deepak wins gold

National champion Deepak Singh (49kg) was the lone Indian boxer to notch up a gold, while five others claimed silver medals in the Makran Cup in Chabahar, Iran. Deepak defeated Jaafar Naseri in the finals held on Wednesday night.However, none of the other five Indian finalists could win their summit clashes. Finishing second on the podium were P Lalitha Prasad (52kg), Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Manish Kaushik (60kg), Duryodhan Singh Negi (69kg), Sanjeet (91kg) and Commonwealth Games silver-medallist Satish Kumar (+91kg).

Manish, also a national champion, lost to Danial Shah Baksh, while Satish was beaten by Mohammad Mlias. Sanjeet, a gold-medallist at the India Open last year, went down to Eldin Ghossoun in his final bout.