ISBC has kept boxing fraternity live indoors: Narsi

Kishen Narsi at the technical table during a competition.

Kishen Narsi at the technical table during a competition.  

Veteran boxing administrator, who had narrow escape from Wuhan outbreak, speaks on sport’s evolution

Boxing administrator Kishen Narsi (80) would have in early March been in Wuhan as part of a technical panel appointed by AIBA (world boxing association) to oversee a competition in China.

“Travel arrangements were made; I had my visa in hand and was ready to leave. Fortunately, the Asia/Oceania Olympic Qualifying Tournament was moved to Jordan, else I would have been in the middle of it (the outbreak in Wuhan); god is great,” Mr. Narsi said.

The Mumbai-based chairman of the Asian Boxing Confederation’s competitions committee, relieved to have escaped a health hazard due to the change in venue, returned after a fortnight of work in Amman’s Prince Hamzah hall, straight to the monotony of home quarantine.

“For two weeks, I was inside my flat, helping my wife in anyway that I could, besides working out. I walked inside the house for two hours and did my abdomen exercises, apart from the household chores,” he said.

The curbs on outdoor sporting activity have been frustrating for the former boxer, who earned international reputation as a referee/judge and jury for tournaments at the Asia and World level, besides the Olympics. He was also an executive committee member of AIBA for 10 years. “I quit competitive boxing in 1962, then kept my body and mind active by playing different sports, especially tennis, snooker and bridge. Sports is a way of life,” Mr. Narsi said.

He used the extended lockdown to participate in the Indian Shadow Boxing Challenge (ISBC), 2020 (see box). Mr. Narsi has submitted a 30-second clip of him attacking and defending against an imaginary opponent in an imaginary ring at home. ISBC is a shadow boxing competition organised by the Mumbai City Boxing Association, open to Indian citizens worldwide, and classified into different age categories.

Mr. Narsi believes though he may be old in age, he is young at heart. “My wife asked me if I was sure about doing the boxing home video, and even pointed out that I didn’t have boxing gloves. But you don’t need equipment for shadow boxing, so I went ahead and submitted the video,” he said.

The retired boxer said AIBA had also asked him to fly to London to oversee another event post the Amman qualifiers, but he excused himself to give his wife company in Mumbai.

“I have not stepped out of my flat since I returned from Jordan. I keep wondering when this lockdown will end and I can go out to play tennis at the Bombay Gymkhana,” Mr. Narsi said.

The veteran said he would be more than happy to lend a hand to the city association’s move to popularise shadow boxing. “The ISBC has brought about a feeling of being together, it has kept the boxing fraternity alive. Now that we are all indoors anyway, it helped to continue training. Most of our boys are training through this,” Mr. Narsi said.

The experienced administrator also noted that boxing had evolved beyond a competitive sport into a fitness sport. “There are people I know ready to give fitness training at home for those between 45 to 50 years. Once you get involved in boxing, there are a lot of avenues. Like in Haryana for example, many have started their own boxing clubs,” he said. Boxing took off in the northern State following Vijender Singh’s emergence in world boxing. Singh’s career highs being the bronze medals won at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and the 2009 World Boxing Championships at Milan.

All about shadow boxing, ISBC

Shadow boxing is part of the training regimen of boxers where they attack and defend themselves against an imaginary opponent in an imaginary ring. The sport can be practised anywhere, indoors or outdoors, and is considered an excellent cardio and conditioning workout. ISBC 2020 is an initiative to encourage competition via shadow boxing as people remain indoors due to the lockdown.

The invite for ISBC 2020 was sent out by Jay Kowli, the president of Mumbai City Boxing Association and secretary general of Boxing Federation of India. Mr. Kowli asked participants to send in 30-second videos via WhatsApp, Facebook or Telegram to the contest address. Entries can be sent by Indian citizens across the world.

The competition has 12 categories, with the lowest being for the under-nine age group and the highest, called stalwarts, for those above 80 years old. Mr. Narsi entered in this category.

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Printable version | Jul 8, 2020 8:56:15 PM |

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