Another feather in cap of Sri Lanka’s boxing chief Dian Gomes | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Another feather in cap of Sri Lanka’s boxing chief Dian Gomes

22 May, 2022
Dian Gomes with American boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. during the IBA Congress in Istanbul, Turkey
Dian Gomes with American boxing legend Roy Jones Jr. during the IBA Congress in Istanbul, Turkey

Boxing Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) president Dian Gomes added another feather to his cap in a chequered career as a boxing administrator when he was elected to the 10-member Independent Director Board of the International Boxing Association (IBA), the world body governing the sport.

There were 155 countries who participated in the IBA Congress meant to select the President and 10 Independent Director board held in Istanbul, Turkey. The other directors voted in included five women, as stipulated by the IBA constitution. Globally 69 countries supported Dian to be re-elected to the top post in the IBA. Recently at the Asian Boxing Confederation’s General Assembly held in Jordan, Dian was elected as the member of newly formed Board of Director of the Asian Boxing Confederation.

Three of the 10 elected Director Board Members of the International Boxing Association (IBA) hail from the continent of Asia. Yousef Al-Kazim (Qatar) and Zhou Jin Qiang (China) also made it to the Magic Circle of 10, representing the Asian Boxing Confederation (ASBC).

Dian’s election to the international body was based on the professional competency, leadership and global strategic ability to navigate the future of global boxing and most importantly on their integrity.

“This is a new phase of the IBA for the future. I got all 30 Asia votes and also from Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Africa, America and Cuba. All countries kind of voted because you can’t only go through a single continent to get to number five among men,” said Gomes who also served on the previous 28-member director board which was whittled down to 10 in the new IBA reforms initiative.

“Basically it’s on your professional leadership, strategic ability and integrity. Most of the older guys got thrown off. Most of them were in 40s, who had done boxing, well qualified and holding professional jobs,” said Gomes, 64, a former Royal College fly weight boxing champion, who has been a leading corporate personality for the better part of three decades.

“Sri Lanka is not a major boxing country like Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Iran or South Korea but it will open lot of doors for Sri Lanka. The issue is our financing. If we got the tickets to go anywhere I can open the training grounds for any of our boxers,” said Gomes who was instrumental in getting Anuruddha Ratnayake to compete at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after 40 years and to get three boxers to win three medals at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018 in Australia after a lapse of 68 years.

“I get tremendous support for boxing which is a huge advantage. Countries like Thailand, Hungary, France and Holland have invited us and offer training. Even for the Commonwealth Games we got major support but we could not send because of funding issues,” said who became the first Sri Lankan to be appointed to the Commonwealth Advisory Board of Sports in 2014 and also served in the world body first as a member of the Finance Commission, the marketing commission, the women’s commission and member of the Director Board.

Hot on the heels of Dian’s re-election as IBA director, Commonwealth Games bound boxer Rukmal Prasanna won a gold medal at the Les Ceintures International Boxing Tournament in Paris, France.

The 22-year-old southpaw from Army who is an outstanding produce of Gamini Central, Ingiriya previously won a bronze medal in 2016 during a tour of Bulgaria as a youth international and also represented Sri Lanka at the Asian Youth tournaments in Thailand and Kazakshtan in 2017. He is also a winner of the coveted Sir Henry William Manning Cup awarded to the most scientific boxer at the National Boxing Championship in 2020.