Going to the grassroots was the dominant refrain at the executive board meeting of the Indian Boxing Federation in New Delhi on Tuesday. The meeting, which was organised to apprise all members of the federation’s association with new marketing partners, also decided on the other issues pertaining to the its competitions and calendar.
Since 2010 is seen as one of the biggest in terms of regional sports, with the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games coming up, the IBF is taking no chances with the composition of the team. “Only the best will play,” said PK Muralidharan Raja, secretary of the federation.
The nationals, slated for July, will be hosted here and the federation, like it did in 2007 before the world championships in Chicago, has made it compulsory for all boxers to participate. This means all boxers, including Olympic medallist Vijender.
“We thought we should give our national champions enough credit,” said Raja. “It’s a level playing field and all our boxers must participate.” However, the federation has made exceptions for injured pugilists who are in the core groups.
The final selection trials will be in September. “Though we will take into account the national campers and how they have been performing, their performances in the nationals will be paramount,” he said.
Though the boxing federation would like to hold the nationals at the newly built Talkatora Stadium, it will depend on how negotiations with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi work out. “We are in talks with the UP boxing association as well. We might hold it in Noida.”
To the grassroots
The federation is also planning to set up academies in each of the states to strengthen its base. “We have been talking to our marketing agents and even the World Series Boxing Franchise Videocon tio set up academies in the states where we will have our coaches and support staff,” said Raja. “This will be our nursery. Once we strengthen our base, we will have a strong pool to chose our boxers from.”
Foreign coach for women
The women’s team is all set to get a foreign coach from June. The federation had been trying rope in a Russian coach, but he has been taken by Kazakhstan. And if the Sports Authority of India (SAI) cannot finalise a foreign coach, the federation plans to go solo. “We should have a Russian coach by June. Even if SAI doesn’t pay his salary, we will appoint somebody at our own expense,” said Raja.