‘I’d rather be A Dictator than do nothing | Sunday Observer

‘I’d rather be A Dictator than do nothing

Dian Gomes
Dian Gomes

Boxing Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) president Dian Gomes slammed his detractors as self-serving individuals who want to travel the world at the expense of the sport than have national interests at heart.

Responding to criticism from the Boxing Referees and Judges Association (BRJA) who have officially complained, Gomes said: “I have at numerous times warned the BRJA their job is to do the refereeing and judging in the most transparent manner in national tournaments rather than position themselves to go on international tours to see the world.

“So we have a conflict with that. My conflict is a medal for Sri Lanka. There will be other people who have other vested interests. If you want to travel abroad, please take a trip and go. Not on the boxing account.”

Gomes has been accused of taking unilateral decisions, overruling the BRJA and sometimes even the Executive Committee (Exco) of the BASL.

But Gomes defended his stance. “If you are too democratic, nothing gets done. If you get the job done, you are called a dictator. I’d rather be called a dictator than do nothing,” said Gomes in a no-holds barred interview with the Sunday Observer.

“If you ask me ‘what is the single biggest challenge I have as president of Sri Lanka boxing’, it is the transparency of judging at all the local meets and my trials,” he said.

Asked whether Sri Lankan boxers suffered when they took part in international competitions because of how they are judged in domestic tournaments, Gomes replied: “We have enough qualified judges. We have more than 12 judges who have international exposure. They are equipped to handle international meets because they have been very well recognized internationally but unfortunately when they are judging local meets the human tendency of bias seems to be creeping in rather than judging blue and red,” he charged.

“Last year there was an instance where we got four foreign judges to officiate at the National championships. The reason was that I wanted to bring a huge transparency into boxing because transparency in judging has always been an issue at school level, at the national level and at the selection trial level, which is my biggest challenge at the moment being the president of Sri Lanka boxing,” said Gomes who has been at the helm since 2004.

“We have dealt with them harshly and I will always maintain my neutrality to enforce transparency. That has been my biggest responsibility and sometimes it has made me very unpopular, especially when I bring foreign judges to officiate at team championships because I see sometimes blatantly biased decisions given,” he said countering the BRJA accusations.

Gomes charged that there are some incompetent judges at national level who lack the exposure or are not technically up to date and who the BRJA is using for political purposes.

“I have been trying to evaluate their performances and to kind of groom them up to the benchmark,” said Gomes, a former panel judge himself.

He also lashed out at government ministers for side-stepping the issue of national funding for the sport and blamed them as merely being “very cordial”.

But he reserved his knock-out blows for the BRJA. “One of the reasons the BRJA complains about me is that they want all the examinations and nominations for referees and judges to be directed through them. I have said no. The reason is the route that we followed earlier. Taking it from them had been a failure due to their inefficiency,” said Gomes.

He said the AIBA website now gives all the examinations and all the courses that each individual can apply as long as the individual has the criteria to sit for the exam.

“We do not require the permission of the BRJA. They (individuals) can directly write to the mother organization (AIBA) which will put their name on the data bank with their qualifications and the selection would be done by the world body. There is no necessity for them to be going through the BRJA because it is a hindrance,” he said.

“I have acted very tough to the displeasure of some of the members but in the better interest of boxing. If they have anything against me they can write to the minister or to the boxing association. I have been recognized both locally and internationally,” said Gomes who was last month conferred ‘National Honours’ by President Maithripala Sirisena.