The impasse over the administration of boxing in India could finally over following the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) elections in Mumbai on Sunday, where Ajay Singh and Jay Kowli were elected president and secretary general respectively.
The Indian boxing administration has been in disarray since the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation's (IABF) suspension for manipulation in elections in 2012. The new body, Boxing India, which took shape in 2014, was also terminated last year following a rebellion by state units and the sport has since been administered by an ad-hoc committee of the AIBA. Boxing in India has suffered irreparable losses over the last four years, with no nationals being conducted.
On Friday, a petition moved by Abhishek Matoria, former president of the now-defunct IABF, seeking the Delhi High Court to stay the September 25 elections, left the Indian boxing community at large, fuming. The argument, however, did not seem to win over the court. Matoria, incidentally is the son-in-law of Abhey Singh Chautala, who held the office of president for 12 years and courtesy the Sports Code could not contest for a fourth term.
Ajay Singh, the Chairman and Managing Director of Spicejet Airlines, got 49 votes against the 15 that his rival -- Rohit Jainendra Jain of Delhi -- polled in the election, which had observers from the International Boxing Association (AIBA) and the Sports Ministry to monitor the proceedings.
While AIBA was represented by its Oceania Zone Vice-President Edgar Tanner, the Ministry had deputed Sports Authority of India Director Sushmita Jyotsi as observer.
The 51-year-old Singh, who was representing Uttarakhand, was a late entrant to the race and sources say he had the backing of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
Maharashtra's Jay Kowli was elected the Secretary General, garnering 48 votes against the 12 by his nearest rival Lenny D'Gama of Goa.
The third candidate in fray, Haryana's Rakesh Thakran, fetched only 4 votes.
Kowli had been voted out of this same position only last year by these state units. At that time, he was the Secretary General of Boxing India, which was dissolved following a revolt by the state units.
Assam's Hemanta Kumar Kalita had been elected unopposed as Treasurer at the end of the nomination process earlier this week.
AIBA observer Edgar Tanner said he was satisfied with the conduct of elections.
"It was a very well conducted election and very fair election. I will be reporting to AIBA that the Indian boxing federation is back up and running. We can expect strong showing once again from Indian boxers at international competitions," he said.