Mumbai: Expected to end four years of administrative turmoil in Indian boxing, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) was elected to office Sunday with businessman Ajay Singh winning the Presidential poll by an overwhelming margin.
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, is an accomplished businessman credited for turning around the fortunes of Spicejet, an airline he founded before selling off his majority stakes in 2005.
He bought back his share last year when the company was in dire straits and steered it to a profit-making venture. Singh is one of the Vice Presidents in the Uttarakhand Boxing Association.
Singh 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.
Interestingly, 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 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 after the counting of votes.
"India were always in top ten of world boxing. Unfortunately, they had slipped and Indian team could not march under their own country's flag or when their boxer won title their country's anthem could not be played. Gladly all those bad days of Indian boxing are behind us. They can now send strong teams to compete with the best," he added.