Boxing sets out 10-year plan to reach Olympics

Singapore Boxing Federation president Faisal Hussain (front row, centre) with the new leadership team. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE – They are young, they are hungry and they want Singaporean boxers to qualify for the Olympic Games again.

A fresh-faced leadership team was elected to chart the course for the Singapore Boxing Federation (SBF) for the next four years, after affiliates went to the polls at its annual general meeting at the Singapore Sports Hub on Saturday night.

Led by new president Faisal Hussain, 42, the nine-strong board comprises six members aged below 40.

Seven affiliate members had voted in the nine members from a slate of 10 individuals, and they were appointed to their posts shortly after.

Faisal, a secondary school educator, said: “There is a lot of hunger and ambition from the young people on this board.

“Half of them were former athletes, so they understand the struggles of the current boxers, and the systemic processes that need to be put into place moving forward.”

Vice-president Fairuz Mohamed, 35, said: “The younger generation, those in their 30s and 40s, see things differently than those who are more senior. They have also been more exposed to sports science, technological advancements in sports training and so on... and they are willing to try new things and explore different paths.”

Both Faisal and Fairuz were also a part of SBF’s previous committee led by long-serving president Syed Abdul Kadir who retired in May.

The 74-year-old had been president since 2009 but has been in ill health since the start of the year.

Hence, Faisal, Fairuz and several members of the previous committee had already begun work to rejuvenate the local sport.

They have tripled the SBF’s reserves, got women’s and youth development programmes off the ground and revamped the elite training programme under the guidance of national co-coaches Muhamad Ridhwan, 34, and Khairul Anuar, 39.

Singapore’s last SEA Games gold medal was won by Mukhlis Amat at Bangkok 1985, and the Republic has had only one boxer – Kadir at Munich 1972 – qualify for the Olympic Games.

The SBF’s new board aims to change this, and on Saturday night shared plans to win a gold medal at the 2025 SEA Games in Bangkok, as well as reach milestones at the Commonwealth and Asian Games before targeting a spot at the 2032 Olympics in Brisbane.

Asked what fuelled their 10-year Olympic dream, Fairuz explained: “Because we think it is achievable with proper structure and planning.”

He added that South-east Asian countries have done it – Thailand have 15 medals at the Olympics, winning four golds, while the Philippines have made the podium eight times.

Noting that the 2029 SEA Games, which will be held in Singapore, coincides with SBF’s 100-year anniversary, Faisal added: “One of our priorities right now is to grow our youth programmes so we will also be able to deliver a good show at the SEA Games here.”

SBF board 2022-2026

President: Faisal Hussain (Age: 42)

Vice-president: Fairuz Mohamed, 35

Honorary secretary: Leona Hui, 36*

Assistant honorary secretary: Ibrahim Ahmad, 38

Treasurer: Syahirah Sola’ Amat, 23*

Member: David Alexis, 54

Member: Dzulfadly Jaffar, 45*

Member: Efasha Kamarudin, 31*

Member: Rafhana Rosli, 33

*Two-year terms as they had the lowest votes among the nine. The rest will be on four-year terms.

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