Even as turmoil engulfs the sport of boxing in India with Boxing India (BI) being provisionally suspended by world boxing body AIBA, the District Sports Office (DSO) inter-school boxing championship saw a massive rise in the number of participants.
Shaikh Subaan (in red) of Akbar Pheerbhoy College of Commerce and Economics lands a punch on Shaikh Abdur Rehman from Maharashtra College in the boys U-19 under 48-kg quarter-finals of the DSO Mumbai City Boxing tournament yesterday. Pic/Suresh KK
Compared to last year, where there were around 80 kids participating in the district level competition, this year DSO received around 120 entries across various age groups and weight categories.
Rajan Jothady, secretary of the Mumbai District Boxing Association, said that the rise in the participation levels at the DSO event, being held at the Rajiv Gandhi District Sports Complex (RGDSC) in Dharavi, is due to an increase in the number of BMC schools participating in the event.
"Till last year, we didn't have many BMC schools participating in the tournament. But this year we will see a lot of BMC schools from the city in the competition," said Jothady.
A participant on condition of anonymity added, "If we want to represent our district or state, we don't have any other option but to compete at the DSO meets. Also, the benefits of the DSO certificates are many — getting sports quotas for admissions to college, marks in school/colleges, government recognition etc."
Another coach, Shruti Kothari Sawant, who teaches at Hindi Vidyabhawan, said, "Yes there are issues at the national level. They haven't conducted a national championship for the last three years.
In such a scenario, for the budding talent, participation in the DSO tournaments is a must. Since there aren't any nationals conducted, to be able to qualify for the national selections, one needs to have won a gold medal at the DSO state level competitions."