The Icelandic Boxing Federation (HNÍ) was established Wednesday, bringing the number of associations within the National Olympic and Sports Association of Iceland (ÍSÍ) to 31. Boxing has long been a controversial sport in Iceland and was banned from 1956 to 2002.
“It’s a huge and important step for us,” Ásdís Rósa Gunnarsdóttir, who was elected as HNÍ’s first chairperson at the occasion, told RÚV. Having boxing become a recognized sport within ÍSÍ has been a 13-year process. “[Boxing] has been controversial but our goal has always been to guarantee the safety of our contestants.”
Approximately 700 people practice Olympic boxing in six regional associations in Iceland and the seventh will be founded shortly.