The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) mourned the demise of boxer Birju Sah, the first Indian boxer to win medals at both the Asian and Commonwealth Games, on Sunday. The boxer who won bronze medals at both the Commonwealth and Asian Games in 1994, died on Saturday night in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand. He was 48.
The Boxing Federation of India expressed grief over his demise and forwarded their heartfelt condolences and prayers to his family and friends. “Boxing Federation of India deeply mourns the demise of boxer Birju Sah. Our heartfelt condolences and prayers for his family & friends. May his soul rest in peace. Om Shanti Om,” the sports body said in a tweet.
Sah, born in 1974, was the first Indian boxer to win medals at both the Asian and Commonwealth Games. Sah’s first significant international success came at 19 in the 1993 Asian Junior Championships in Bangkok, Thailand. He took bronze in the light flyweight (45-48kg) division. The Indian boxing association took note of Birju Sah’s success on the continental stage and nominated him for the senior national camp.
Sah appeared ready to win gold at the Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada the following year, but was upset in the semi-finals by eventual champion Abdurahman Ramadhani of Kenya. He was forced to settle with a bronze. His purple streak continued at the Asian Games in Hiroshima, Japan, when he finished on the podium once more to make history for India. Sah, formerly ranked seventh in the world, suffered financially after retiring. He worked as a security guard in Jamshedpur’s Tatanagar district, but he kept in touch with his sport by instructing disadvantaged kids from adjacent areas for free.
Birju Sah’s wife, daughter, and son survive him.