International Boxing Association (AIBA) President Mr. Umar Kremlev met with Mr. Nick Sore, Senior Refugee Sports Coordinator and Ms. Megumi Aoyama, External Relations Officer from UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency – at AIBA Headquarters in Lausanne. They discussed the important role that boxing can play in supporting refugees around the world.
‘Boxing can play a positive role in the lives of refugees and displaced people around the world. We have all the opportunities, including financial, to help refugees. I want to start our action as soon as possible,’ said AIBA President Kremlev. ‘Our intention is to extend our cooperation. We need to create a program where boxing will help people in need.’
President Kremlev also mentioned that the most important thing is to deliver assistance for those who need it.
‘Not only do we need to provide sports equipment and sport and training opportunities, but also life-saving assistance where needed. It will help refugees to find a positive path. We need to ensure that all can benefit from this support and we do not separate people based on their gender, race or religion; we respect all values,’ AIBA President Kremlev added.
AIBA Secretary General Mr. István Kovács stressed that boxing is a sport that helps people from all communities and does not discriminate. He added that boxing has played a very important role for those from marginalized communities in the past.
‘We have so many stories where people from humble backgrounds became huge stars. They are role models for others. We can support talent within refugee communities who could become great champions. In the end, this can lead them to a better life,’ he said.
Mr. Sore described how he had watched boxing growing up and recognized the opportunities, the values and the potential which it can provide for athletes.
‘Humanitarian organizations often focus on providing life-saving assistance such as shelter and health care, first. However, we recognize that sport plays a significant role in young people’s well-being. Sport can fill some of the learning and development gaps that displaced communities so often experience such as access to formal education. That’s why we are keen to engage and with sports Federations and other sports organizations,’ he added.
AIBA and UNHCR are exploring initial cooperation in Europe through boxing, which will promote integration into host communities through boxing. AIBA has committed to providing all necessary equipment for training and other activities with a pilot scheduled for the second half of 2021.