February 6, 2021

Indian Women’s Team forward Sharmila Devi has been proving her mettle in every opportunity she gets. Be it her first outing for the Indian Team at the Tokyo Test Event in 2019 or the FIH Olympic Qualifiers where she showed her raw talent by scoring an important goal against USA which propelled the team’s 5-1 victory in the first match.

“I played my first match for the Senior side in 2019 and ever since then, I have been getting fantastic exposure with the team and I am happy to receive these opportunities and want to make each one count,” Sharmila expressed. In India’s recent tour to Argentina, she scored twice for India in low-scoring games that proved crucial for the team against a top-quality side like Argentina who are ranked No.2 in the world.

“The Indian Team was playing against Argentina after nearly four years. The senior players who had previously played against Argentina in 2017 recalled how strong a team they are and how important it is for us to execute our plans perfectly. Though we were quite effective against them and came very close to winning, I felt we should work a lot more on converting opportunities in the circle. We were making enough and more circle entries but were unable to convert,” stated the forward highlighting the area which they will be working on when the core group returns to National Camp on 14 February 2021.

The 19-year-old from Hisar, Haryana lauded the efforts of Hockey India in ensuring the tour was well organised despite these trying circumstances due to the pandemic. She also feels this exposure in Argentina will hold in good stead as the team prepares for the prestigious Olympic Games.

“Playing in Argentina was a very different experience. The opponent was no doubt very challenging, which made this tour exciting, but the way everything was organized and playing in a bio-secure bubble was a different experience altogether. Even the hotel we stayed at took extra care in ensuring our comforts and the food was suitable to our palate which is rarely ever the case when we travel. We are very grateful to Hockey India for ensuring a safe environment for us to compete. Though we are disappointed we didn’t secure a win, the lessons from this exposure will help us prepare best for the Olympic Games,” Sharmila said.

AIBA President Umar Kremlev came for an official visit to Africa to take part in the AIBA Virtual Forum in Nairobi, Kenya. 

Kremlev met with representatives of the Ministry of Sports of Kenya, National Olympic Committee of Kenya and the President of Kenyan Boxing Federation Anthony Otieno Ombok, as well as with African Boxing Confederation (AFBC) President Dr Mohamed Moustahsane who supported boxing development ideas. 

‘I am really happy to be in Africa, on the continent which has great potential for boxing development. There are a lot of talented boxers here, and we need to create the proper conditions for them to ensure they can show their best results. AIBA will provide help and support. All AIBA countries are important for us, and boxing development everywhere is our priority,’ Kremlev claimed.  

‘Africa has a unique history of boxing, there were 8 Olympic champions and 4 world champions on the continent. I am confident that African boxers can perform even better. We will do everything possible to ensure they can show their best at the international level,’ AIBA President said in a statement.

‘I am very pleased with the enthusiasm and dedication of Kenyan Boxing Federation’s work. The support of the national federation is very important for boxers, and they are not left alone here. In turn, AIBA will help the development of boxing in the country,’ Kremlev concluded.

Principal Secretary of the Ministry of Sports of Kenya Joe Okudo said that they had a good discussion on the sports development. 

‘We had a good discussion of the development of boxing in the country and on the continent. We talked about the possibility of opening an international boxing gym in the country, so that not only athletes could train, but also we can organize education programs for referees and judges, for coaches, cutmen and ringside doctors’ said Okudo.

The AIBA President added that on Sunday he will go to see the site for the construction of the future boxing gym.

‘Tomorrow we will see the land where the boxing academy is to be built. We will make a plan for the development of the sport in the country to make sure boxing becomes the number one sport in Kenya. The next time I come to the country, the gym will already be opened. We also will help Kenyan boxers with necessary equipment. We plan to hold one of the tournaments in Kenya, which will unite all Africa. In addition to medals, boxers will receive financial rewards on it,’ said the AIBA President.

SGFI President Sushil Kumar had alleged that secretary-general Rajesh Mishra had manipulated SGFI constitution to stay in power.

The sports ministry has declared the recent elections of the School Games Federation of India (SGFI) null and void. The SGFI had elected new office bearers during its annual general body meeting held in December in Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu.

The ministry, however, rejected the SGFI request to grant annual recognition to it as a national sports federation (NSF) that oversees sports at the school level on the grounds that the National Sports Development Code 2011 guidelines were overlooked during the December elections.

The ministry in a letter to the SGFI said that the SGFI should hold the elections again as per the Sports Code.

Double Olympic medallist Sushil Kumar, who was president of the SGFI, had alleged that the SGFI secretary-general Rajesh Mishra had manipulated SGFI constitution to stay in power.

Sushil had also alleged that Mishra had forged his signature to change the by-laws of the SGFI. The Olympian apprised the sports minister about the manipulation done by Mishra and the ministry took a serious view of the alleged fraud.