Newly-elected International Boxing Association President Gafur Rakhimov has opened the Women’s World Boxing Championships in New Delhi, even though there have been calls to change the venue due to dangerous pollution levels.
The event’s Opening Ceremony took place today at the Indira Gandhi Sport Complex in the KD Jadhav Indoor Stadium as readings suggested that the particle level monitored for pollution reached eight times the safe limit.
The venue, host of boxing events at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, has been criticised for its location at the centre of the heavily polluted city.
Competitors and coaches have been seen wearing surgical masks and items of clothing around their mouths and faces to protect them from the harmful air particles.
With the still wind conditions, the weather is exacerbating the situation.
"We feel the air is no good ad some of the parents of these players are worried and we tell tthem to restrict their time outside," French coach Anthony Veniant said.
A total of 10 medal events are to be contested over 10 days of action in India which began with a parade of nations.
The 62 countries in attendance were announced as boxing fans looked forward to Olympic and world champions taking to the ring for an event due to conclude on November 24.
"The 2018 AIBA Women’s World Championships is really important for us, as women’s boxing development is a central part of AIBA’s DNA," Rakhimov, whose election has plunged the future of boxing at the Olympic Games into doubt because he has been described as "one of Uzbekistan's leading criminals", told the crowd.
"But it is also important to remember that we are starting a new era at boxing.
"One that is focused on ensuring that our athletes are provided with the necessary support to achieve greatness in and out of the ring."