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How did India do as host of Women’s World Boxing Championships 2023?

Published at :March 29, 2023 at 5:31 AM
Modified at :May 14, 2023 at 6:51 AM
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Abhiruchi Rout

Four Indian women won the gold medals at the event.

Hosting a major sporting event is a huge task that calls for significant resources, proper planning, and a strong infrastructure. A host country must have the necessary stadiums, arenas, training centers, and infrastructure required, to support the sports event. These locations must adhere to the requirements for capacity, accessibility, and safety. 

In addition, the host country needs to provide sufficient accommodations for the athletes and tourists and a transportation system that can manage the rush. Any sporting event must put the highest importance on the safety and security of participants, officials, and spectators.

The host nation must have the monetary means to meet the event's expenses because hosting a large sporting event can be extremely expensive. This might involve creating new locations, improving current ones, offering security, and providing other services. The host country must be able to incite excitement and enthusiasm among the general public and work with nearby businesses and organizations to make the event a success.

Owing to all these factors, it is right to say that hosting a tournament is a challenging task. The President of the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) announced in December 2022 that India will be hosting the Women’s World Boxing Championships for the third time. He further stated that the International Boxing Association (IBA) will also partner with the BFI to make sure the event is properly conducted.

Just after the announcement was done, the preparations began in full swing. However, on their way to gearing up for the prestigious event, the Indian federation did face huge challenges. India was also slated to host the Asian Wrestling Championships around March end. Due to its initially scheduled dates clashing with the Women’s World Boxing Championships, the Oversight Committee formed by the Sports Ministry appealed to the United World Wrestling (UWW), to postpone the event. 

But, the UWW moved the event out of India because of pending inquiries against the former president of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI). Therefore, India was now tasked with hosting the Women’s World Boxing Championships only. The Women’s World Boxing Championships kicked off on March 15 and ran until March 26, 2023. The host nation signed off in style as it not only won four gold medals in the tournament but also topped the medal tally.

Let’s take a look at how the nation did as a host at the Women’s World Boxing Championships 2023.

India being declared as the best nation

Being the host and also the toppers in the medal tally is an incredible feat to achieve. India accomplished so by winning four out of four available gold medals to dethrone China from the top position. On the penultimate day of the championships, Commonwealth Games (CWG) 2022 champion Nitu Ghanghas and Saweety Boora won the first two gold medals for the country by winning their respective finals. 

Reigning champion Nikhat Zareen earned her second world title and became the only boxer after Mary Kom to win multiple golds at the Worlds. Tokyo Olympics bronze medalist Lovlina Borgohain claimed the gold to add another accomplishment to her feat. As a result, India surpassed China in the medal table owing to more golds, despite the latter winning 7 medals in this edition.

IBA president Umar Kremlev praised India

The International Boxing Association (IBA) President Umar Kremlev applauded India and hailed the country as the capital of women's boxing in a press conference. He stated, “India became the capital of women's boxing and now we are witnessing historical moments together. Generally, 250 to 260 boxers compete in such championships but this year it's a huge championship.” A total of 324 boxers from 65 nations marked their presence in this tournament, making it a success.

The host nation, however, also faced some setbacks for some of its actions. We will now take a look at a few of such instances.

Kosovo boxer denied Visa once again and questioned IBA for naming India as host

Kosovo boxer Donjeta Sadiku didn’t participate in the Women’s World Boxing Championships 2023, owing to visa issues. This was because India didn’t recognize Kosovo as an independent country, despite being declared independent from Serbia in 2008. 

What added to the disappointment was it was not the first time when the Kosovan boxer had to go through this issue. She even encountered the same problem when the World Championships took place in 2018 in New Delhi and Youth Women’s World Boxing Championships in Guwahati. 

“I don’t know why IBA allowed India to organize this championship, knowing that India didn’t allow me to participate there in the past,” said the Kosovan boxer. To this, the BFI President Ajay Singh responded, “This is not a preserve of the Boxing Federation of India, this is a prerogative of the government of India, it’s up to them to give a visa or not. We have approached them in the past, this is a call of the government.” 

However, as this incident had taken place beforehand, the BFI could have been more careful about its approach. A boxer had to pull out of the competition, despite training very hard to participate in the championships.

Wrong Anthem played on Russia’s comeback gold medal triumph

Russian boxer Anastasiia Demurchian clinched the gold medal for the nation in the women’s light middleweight category on Russia’s return to the championships. The IBA permitted the participation of the Russian and Belarussian boxers to compete under their own flags, anthems, and symbols. According to the IBA president, the athletes shouldn’t be a part of politics, and also provided financial funds to many nations’ boxers to participate.

But, the moment that was going to be an emotional one for boxer Demurchian turned out to be a topic of discussion as the wrong anthem was played during the presentation and medal ceremony. The announcer immediately apologized for the mistake. The boxer then came back to the stage for the right anthem as the correct anthem played. But, the majority of the fans had left the stadium by that time.

According to sources, the Russian coaches had already corrected the organizers before the beginning of that day’s competition to ensure that they performed the right anthem. This led to the IBA launching a probe for further investigation into the matter. A BFI spokesperson stated that the organization would cooperate with the IBA relating to the same matter.