Lenny D’Gama, Goa’s pioneer for Boxing, an AIBA (International Boxing Association) International Technical Official has been nominated by Boxing Task Force- International Olympic Committee (IOC) – to officiate at two of the 4 Confederations Olympic Boxing Qualifiers- Africa ( Dakar, Senegal) and Europe (London, United Kingdom).
An International Technical Official since D’Gama has officiated at various international boxing championships as Referees & Judges Evaluator, including at the AIBA World Women’s Boxing Championship held in Russia in October 2019.
Currently in Dakar, Senegal for the 1st Olympic Qualifier (Africa) that commenced on February 20 that will be on till February 29, 2020, there are 33 stakes for the prestigious Olympics up for grabs that will be held between July and August 2020.
Lenny D’Gama, the chairman- Rules and Technical Commission, Boxing Federation of India is ecstatic and under stress at the same time. “I feel honoured and humbled to be nominated for these prestigious, crucial and critical competitions that lead up to Tokyo 2020,” D’Gama says, before saying that he didn’t think he would make it to the World Championships last year, and not in his wildest dreams did he think he would make the cut, for two Olympic qualifiers.
Since Boxing at Tokyo 2020 is being organised by the Boxing Task Force set up by the International Olympic Committee, D’Gama who is the vice president of Goa Boxing Association informs that there are several new incorporations at Senegal, which will be used here on for Boxing competitions, at least till the Olympics. “There is a new scoring and evaluation process developed by Price Waterhouse Cooper that ensuring accurate results and neutrality in the competition. Besides, strict vigilance, and daily evaluations and analysis, there is high levels of discipline being enforced among officials where no use of telephones at the venue, gifting or exchange of souvenirs are permitted,” informs D’Gama about the technical details that also including warnings, suspensions for officials found breaching the ‘Code of Conduct’ or not upto standard.
D’Gama who believes that such rules and processes were needed in the sport as “the deserving/right boxer must win,” and is hopeful that most of the rules and regulations should be incorporated in India, at all level to ensure fair results and equal opportunity to all boxers.
And no sooner his work for the day ends and is allowed to use his phone, members in the association in Goa, wake up to messages early morning due to the time difference, when all his concentration shifts, to the upcoming All Goa State Boxing Championship, that will be held at Boxing Hall, Peddem, from March 3 to March 7, 2020- delegating work, checking progress and coordinating all that he can.
While his hands are full with international assignments, uplifting Boxing in the state is still one of his wildest dreams.“We wanted an exclusive Boxing Hall with proper amenities to be set up, and after years of discussion with Sports Authority of Goa (SAG) we got it. I have been trying hard to set up an academy for top Goan boxers which is yet to be materialized,” he says with hope.
While he is happy that after 30 years of Goa Boxing Association being founded there are several achievements to be proud of, he still thinks that ‘work in progress’ means getting a lot more accomplished.
“While I am positive that there will be a Goa Boxing League that will highlight our Goan boxers, I want to get a ‘working committee’ to carry forward the work, spread boxing across the villages, have dedicated coaches and staff work for the association who understand well what it takes to create champion and most importantly create awareness and have the private sector support local boxing that can create many more boxing icons with finance, support and guidance,” he says.
Spending most of his time at a Boxing venue outside Goa and India, or at training centres in Porvorim or Mapusa, D’Gama who arrives in Goa on March 3, will play a pivotal role at the All Goa State Boxing Championship, before heading to London, for the European Boxing Qualifier that will have over 450 boxers from across Europe fighting it out for 77 Olympic berths from March 14 to March 24, 2020.