Over the last few weeks there has been a real fear that the 2020 Olympics will not feature boxing, after the IOC made it clear that they saw Gafur Rakhimov, the current interim president of AIBA, as someone they wouldn't approve of.
Earlier this month it seemed that Rakhimov, who has been linked to a number of crimes, would sit unopposed to become the full time leader of AIBA. That was because no candidate got the required signatures to the AIBA office by their deadline, a deadline that their office wasn't open for.
Their was one man who had the signatures and provided them to AIBA the day after the deadline, that was popular Kazakh Serik Konakbayev.
Originally AIBA stated that because he had missed the deadline he wasn't allowed to sit, and Rakhimov would run unopposed. The Kazakh stated he was taking the case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland to appeal the decision, and today they over-turned the decision of AIBA, allowing Konakbayev to run for the presidency.
He has made it clear that he wants to run on on rebuilding trust with the IOC, sponsors and repairing the reputational and financial problems that AIBA have had in recent years. He appears to have a lot of strong backing, but even winning the presidency would appear to be a small win given the uphill take he would have in rebuilding AIBA to being a respected body, and winning over the IOC, who appear to be very serious in dropping amateur boxing if AIBA don't tidy up their act.
(Photo of the NOC press service)
The political mess and wrangling, games and controversy of AIBA seems to have overshadowed the organisation a lot in recent years. Sadly though the organisation responsible for amateur boxing is doing it's self no favours and it may now find it's self being taken to court by Kazakhstan's popular and well liked Serik Konakbayev, who was hoping to run as their president.
Konakbayev had planned to run against the very controversial Gafur Rakhimov, the current interim president and a man who could end up having amateur boxing removed from the Olympics due to the IOC's stance on him and his alleged criminal links. Sadly Konakbayev was told that he failed to get signatures backing him to run to AIBA on time.
On paper that sounds like it was his fault, but the deadline for the paper work was September 23rd, a Sunday. A day when the office wasn't open. Essentially the deadline was a day when AIBA wouldn't have been available to accept his paper work. It was assumed that the real deadline was the following day, and that was when Konakbayev delivered his signatures.
Konakbayev stated that "I am extremely surprised that my candidacy was not included in the final list of presidential candidates. I believe that it is in the interests of our sport to hold competitive elections so that federations - members of AIBA can select the desired leader on November 3". He is now said to be considering going to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland to appeal the decision.
It seems like Konakbayev has been the latest victim of the AIBA political games, but has decided to stand up for the sport and for what is right. For that we can certainly get behind him, and with many amateur fighters already sharing their concerns about the 2020 Olympics we would be very surprised if fighters weren't also behind the Kazakh in his attempt to get on the ballot for November.
(Image courtesy of http://asbcnews.org)
Back in September we reported that Kazakhstan's Serik Konakbayev had been nominated to lead AIBA, sadly however it appears he lacked the number of necessary votes to be put through to the voting.
According to Kazakh sources Konakbayev required a total of 20 countries to back him but he has fallen short of that number.
As a result the controversial Uzbek Gafur Rakhimov, the current interim president, is the only candidate set to run for the role of AIBA president. Sadly that leaves AIBA on a collision course with International Olympic Committee due to Rakhimov's links to organised crime.
Further disappointment for Konakbayev, who seemingly only missed the deadline by a few hours oin September 23rd, is the fact he wasn't even named as the vice president for Asia, a position all the continental heads had been given in their regions.
It's unclear why Konakbayev has been overlooked for the regional vice presidential position but it seems likely that political in fighting isn't going to help AIBA remain part of the Olympics, especially given the recent controversies surrounding C K Wu and Franco Falcinelli prior to Rakhimov becoming the acting president.
(Note - Image is of Konakbayev, courtesy of the press service of the Asian Boxing Confederation)
According to sources in Kazakhstan Serik Konakbayev has been nominated to lead AIBA after a number of issues have befallen the organisation in recent years.
Those who don't recognise Konakbayev's name will be in the majority of you, but for those in Kazakhstan he is a boxing legend and one of the reasons Kazakhstan is becoming a boxing powerhouse.
Born in the 1959 Konakbayev would become one of the key boxers from the USSR, claiming a silver at the 1980 Olympics and at the 1982 World Amateur Championships. As well those championships on the global level he was also a 2-time European champion among other accolades.
Following his active career Konakbayev would continue to inspire, becoming a member of the Kazakh Parliament, a membe rof the AIBA Executive Committee, the Vice President of AIBA and the President of the Asian Boxing Confederation.
His nomination for president is a huge sign of the future AIBA seem to be going with. He has fought as a boxer, he worked for AIBA and seems a fantastic choice to lead AIBA out of one of the darkest times in it's history. He will however have stiff competition from other nominees and this won't be a walk in the park for the popular Kazakh.
(Image courtesy of Vesti)
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