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UAE’s head of the Asian Boxing Confederation, Anas Al Otaiba, pleads for ‘transparency and a listening ear’

Dubai: Anas Al Otaiba, head of the Asian Boxing Confederation (ASBC), called for ‘transparency and a listening ear’ after announcing his candidacy for president of the International Boxing Association (AIBA).

Last week, Al Otaiba – a vice-president of AIBA and also a member of the Executive Committee of the body – became the third official to publicly declare his intention to run for the top post at the organized organization.

Suleyman Mikayilov of Azerbaijan and Domingo Solano of the Dominican Republic are the other two who have pledged to run for the vacant AIBA presidency. It is also widely believed that Russian Umar Kremlev will become the fourth official to take part in the race ahead of the November 2 deadline.

The AIBA presidential election is scheduled to take place virtually during the World Body Extraordinary Congress, on December 12-13.

United Arab Emirates Al Otaiba reveals his bid to become AIBA president in a statement issued by the United Arab Emirates Boxing Federation (UAE BF), which he has led since 2017. The 44-year-old said AIBA has’ reached a “tipping point” after being suspended as the Olympic governing body for sport due to problems with government, finance, refereeing and judging, among others.

“We need complete transparency in the way we run our sport. We must listen and we must be honest with all member states, ‘Al Otaiba told Gulf News after announcing his candidacy for the highest post.

“We need to work harder, smarter and more agile by seizing the last opportunity of AIBA’s rebirth hosted by the International Olympic Committee (IOC),” he added.

The AIBA has been without a permanent president for more than a year and a half after Rakhimov resigned in March 2019. The troubled federation has since been led on an interim basis by Mohammed Moustahsane of Morocco.

Recently, the IOC said it was “very concerned” about the progress AIBA has made with its government reforms, which it has promised since being deprived of involvement in the boxing tournament at the postponed Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020.

“Look what we ended up with. Boxing is an honorable sport like any other, and we owe it to member states and our athletes that they have a sport they can be proud of while exercising. We have to fix a lot of things in boxing and this journey is starting now, ‘Al Otaiba emphasized.

Al Otaiba was born on May 18, 1976, and completed his Bachelor of Arts degree and his studies in business and international affairs at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, USA. He then obtained his Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Abu Dhabi University.

Al Otaiba has been closely involved in boxing in the UAE since 2012 when he became a member of the United Arab Emirates Boxing Federation (UAE BF). He was subsequently appointed in 2014 as a member of the Executive Committee of the Asian Boxing Confederation (ABF), and thereafter as President of the UAE BF, in 2016.

Interestingly, the UAEBF president was seen as a close ally of Gafur Rakhimov, who resigned in March 2019 after allegations that he was involved in heroin trafficking. The accusations against Rakhimov and his subsequent election prompted the IOC to take action and contributed to the decision to suspend AIBA in June 2019.

Al Otaiba automatically becomes a vice-president of AIBA based on his position at the Asian organization and has served on the ruling executive committee ever since.

This year’s election is considered vital for the chance that AIBA will recover from the IOC before the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Bringing boxing back into the Olympic kraal is definitely one of the most important tasks I have. We must preserve the long legacy of AIBA as the representative of one of the first Olympic sports ever. And then we also need to listen to what our members are saying. There are concerns and issues, but the AIBA is too busy listening to this because there are so many infighting going on. “Things need to change, and I think now is the time for change,” Al Otaiba said.

-Finally

Source: Gulf News

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