KARACHI, June 21 The demise of Prof. Anwar Chowdhry who died in his sleep on Saturday evening marks the end an era in Pakistan boxing.
Besides his numerous achievements for his country amid the many controversies, the highlight of his career was his four-decade-long association with the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA), including 20 years as its president. It was in 1986 that he became the first Pakistani to head any international body when AIBA's Xth Congress held at Bangkok elected him as president with overwhelming majority.
Born in Jalalpur Jutta in Punjab on Oct 20 1923, Prof Chowdhry started his journey to the top in 1962 when he qualified as assistant judge and was nominated to officiate the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. In 1966, he joined the Executive Committee of AIBA and was voted as its Secretary General in 1974.
On the domestic front, he served as secretary of the Pakistan Amateur Boxing Federation (PABF) from 1959 to 1984 before getting elected to the office of the federation's president. Later, he rose to become the chairman of the federation.
Chowdhry finally called it a day on Sept 10, 2008 when he announced that he will not be contesting the then upcoming PABF polls. The announcement came in the backdrop of his shocking defeat in the AIBA elections in Nov 2006.
Chowdhry was also the founding secretary of the Asian Amateur Boxing Association in 1962. He started the prestigious King's Cup in Thailand in 1974 and the President's Cup in Indonesia in 1976.
He was the recipient of many prestigious awards including the IOC Olympic Award, ANOC (Association of National Olympic Committees) Award, Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) Eminent Service Award and AIBA Special Award. In addition, the government of Pakistan bestowed him with Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 1999.
Pakistan pugilists shone in the ring globally during his association with the sport - including Hussain Shah's bronze at the 1988 Seoul Olympics - while he was also accused by many of influencing the results in the various national and international competitions.
A Bachelor of Electrical/Mechanical Engineering, he served as a lecturer, assistant professor, associate professor and retired as Head of Mechanical Engineering department, NED University of Engineering and Technology in 1977.
Chowdhry was closely linked with sports since his younger days. He started as a hockey player in school and also at college but also participated in boxing and athletics in Inter-school and Inter-collegiate competitions. Later, he also held important positions in various sports associations, federations and the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA). The former AIBA chief used to attribute his passion to boxing to Lyari's long forgotten maestro, Ustad Satto.
Chowdhry's long and distinguished career as a boxing official, however, received a huge setback when he lost AIBA's quadrennial polls to Taiwan's C. K. Wu in November 2006.
Later, the AIBA Executive Committee which met in Lausanne on June 16, 2007 also barred him for life from any involvement with the governing body on charges of financial irregularities worth hundreds of thousands of US dollars.
Chowdhry was laid to rest at the PECHS graveyard on Monday evening. His funeral was attended by a large number of people belonging to all walks of life. His soyem will be held at Madni Mosque in the Administrative Society, Baloch Colony, on Tuesday after Asr prayers.