Faced with AIBA deadline, boxing officials get down to work
The threat of an Olympic ban looming over Indian boxers, the bickering administrators on Thursday took the first step towards forming a new federation by calling for a stakeholders’ meeting on April 16 to finalise the constitution and date for fresh elections.
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has given India time till May 14 to put together a new federation, failing which the country’s boxers could be barred from competing in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Only one Indian boxer -- Shiva Thapa (56kg) -- has so far qualified for the Games. Both the men and women boxers have only one chance each left to make the cut for the August event. Eight Indian boxers -- seven men and one woman -- had qualified for the previous Olympics held in London in 2012.
The administrators, comprising representatives of most of the state units, on Thursday gathered here for a meeting which was also attended by Sports Authority of India (SAI) Director General Injeti Srinivas and IOA officials, including its former President Randhir Singh.
In a stormy session of deliberations which became animated and loud on more than one occasion, the state units were told to apply for fresh membership so that a new body can take shape after the stakeholders’ meeting in Kolkata.
“We certainly want our boxers to compete in the Olympics and that too under the India flag. So in the next meeting, the constitution would be finalised along with the date election,” the SAI-appointed coordination committee head Asit Banerjee told PTI. The election could be held in the mid-May just before the AIBA deadline expires and will have an observer from the world body to avoid any controversy.
India have been without a national federation for a year now after Boxing India was terminated owing to rebellion by state units. That termination was a continuation of a period of turmoil that originally began in 2012 when the erstwhile Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) was suspended due to manipulation of elections.