Former president of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) Ashish Shelar has become a favourite to win the upcoming Boxing Federation of India (BFI) presidential elections and has ensured that the federation gets its own office and a first-class training academy, among several other benefits as part of his agenda.
A former MLA from Bandra West as well as former president of Mumbai unit of BJP, Ashish Shelar has achieved success during his tenure at the helm of the MCA and ensures to take BFI to the same path and to empower the sport of boxing in the country to regain its former glory.
Speaking at a press conference at the Bandra Kurla Complex in Mumbai, Shehar lamented how BFI still lacks an office of its own and assures that the federation will have the same once he is at the top of the helm.
“For a sport which has brought so much glory to the country, our administrative state is such that we don’t even have an office of our own, even on rent,” Shehar said in the press conference, “our concept of bringing a change in Indian boxing is about making our own office of the BFI, which will be for the boxers and the state associations. Everyone in this ecosystem should have their own office. This is how we can move forward.”
The press conference also saw the presence of BFI secretary-general Jay Kowli, as well as vice-president Dr CB Raje who is contesting for the secretary-general post and Bengal Amateur Boxing Association president Asit Banerjee.
However, its not just the federation office, as Ashish Shelar also has the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in mind and wants the Indian pugilists to receive the best training and assistance through a superb training academy, something that was lacking very much before the last Olympics in Rio in 2016.
“We want to bring certain changes in Indian boxing,” Shelar went on, “the difficulties we experienced at the Rio Olympics have taught us that if we have a strong federation, we can do very well. We have the Tokyo Olympics this year.”
“Our boxers have won Olympic medals in the past and can win again, but if we have a strong federation, we can play a role in it and give our contingent more power, besides being able to fulfill the last-minute needs of the boxers.”
Moreover, Shelar aims to fortify the sport of boxing in India from the ground up, i.e., scout for talents and to make the entire boxing environment in the country more effective and also wants the participation from all state associations to better the sport.
“We have to strengthen our boxers at the ground level, hunt for talent, make the ecosystem of Indian boxing strong, and involve all the state associations in running the sport,” Shelar acknowledged.