Ajay Singh is among the busiest men in India right now. Not just because he is SpiceJet chairman but he also holds an important position in national sports as president of Boxing Federation of India (BFI).
On Saturday, the BFI president found some time from his busy schedule to speak to Mail Today and shared his views on boxers’ performance before lockdown, their training and the challenges he faced during the ongoing pandemic in his dual leadership role.
MT: 2019 was really impressive for Indian boxers and this year, too, a good number of boxers have already qualified for the Olympics. Are you expecting few more boxers to make the cut?
AS: I am confident that we will be able to secure all the thirteen quota places. Our boxers have been putting in the hard yards in training. Getting nine quotas from a single qualifier is unprecedented and it says a lot about the efforts of our boxers as well as those of the support staff, coaches and BFI overall. I am hopeful India will witness never-seen-before results at the Olympics.
MT: What are India’s chances at the Tokyo Olympics?
AS: Our mission is to win medals for India at the Olympics and we have been working hard to achieve this goal. Our coaches and my colleagues at BFI have put together a plan which encompasses the best coaching facilities, exposure trips, scientific training processes for our boxers to gain experience and achieve the optimal performance levels needed to beat the best in the world. This lockdown, though, has changed the scenario but our intentions remain just the same. We were the first National Sports Federation to put together online coaching classes for our elite boxers who could train and pursue a disciplined life despite the lockdown. All our boxers have been working extremely hard to keep themselves in shape and maintain agility and stamina. We are hopeful that we can start training and get back on course soon when our national camps resume.
MT: Do you think postponement of the Olympics will benefit athletes?
AS: These are circumstances which are unprecedented and nothing is in our hands. But the way the COVID-19 pandemic has crippled life all over the world, there was no way to organize the Olympics. So, postponement was the best possible solution, keeping the health and safety of all athletes, coaches, officials and the fans.
There will always be debates about what could have been the best. Yes, our boxers were at the peak and had worked very hard to reach where they were couple of…