The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) might bid for the hosting rights of an Olympic Qualifying tournament next year, continuing its efforts to bring big-ticket events to the country after managing to bag the men’s and women’s world championships.
“Yes, the discussions are on. The plan is being prepared and BFI is set to try and bring an Olympic qualifying event to India. It is a long drawn process but the first steps have been taken,” a top BFI official told PTI on condition of anonymity.
If successful, it would be the first time that India would host an Olympic qualifying tournament. Efforts have been made in the past by the erstwhile Indian Amateur Boxing Federation to get the hosting rights of Asian qualifiers but they were not successful.
The BFI had managed to pull off quite a coup last year by claiming the hosting rights of this year’s senior women’s world championships and the 2021 men’s world championships.
“The women’s world championship will be held in New Delhi in November, that bit has now been finalised. The venue is likely to be the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, which is also the base of the national camp for women,” the official said.
The BFI had wanted to host the 2019 men’s world championship, which is an Olympic qualifying tournament but lost out to Russia.
The world championships are always the first Olympic qualifying tournament followed by continental qualifiers.
Before the Rio Olympics, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) also organised a tournament for professional boxers which became the final qualifying event for the Games.
Besides, boxers can also make the Olympic cut through the semi-professional World Series of Boxing, in which India reclaimed a team last year. Even though the level of competition in WSB makes it perhaps the toughest Olympic qualifier, India would be aiming to clinch a few quota places.
Both the men’s and women’s teams are currently in England fine-tuning their preparations for next month’s Asian Games in Indonesia.
Only three Indian boxers — Shiva Thapa, Manoj Kumar, and Vikas Krishan — had managed to qualify for the previous Olympics in 2016. The country had returned without a medal from Rio, the first time since the historic bronze claimed by Vijender Singh in the 2008 Beijing Games.