New Delhi, Aug 28: The Indian boxers continue to suffer for no fault of theirs and now they are in danger of being barred from all international competitions after the Oct 11-27 World Championships if their suspended federation does not hold a fresh, free and fair election by Nov 4.
Governing body AIBA, which had suspended the Indian Boxing Federation (IBF) in December for “possible manipulation” in its election, says it still doesn’t know when the IBF plans to hold fresh polls.
“Until the election process is completed, the IBF is still provisionally suspended. All its membership rights have been suspended, including the participation of Indian boxers and coaches in any AIBA competition from now on, except for any competition for which an authorisation to participate has already been granted, which is the case in respect of the World Boxing Championships in Almaty,” AIBA communications director Sebastien Gillot told IANS Wednesday.
AIBA says that they have already sent the revised draft constitution to IBF but has not got a reply.
“At its annual meeting held on July 16 in Jeju Island, Korea, the AIBA executive committee decided to ask the IBF to hold a new election as soon as possible (within three months, thus not later than Nov 4) according to the AIBA statutes and bylaws as well as to the AIBA election guidelines, and in the presence of a returning officer who will oversee the whole election process.
“The IBF Constitution was also recently revised by AIBA and sent back to the IBF for its comments and approval. No communication has been received so far from the IBF,” Gillot added.
Asked why the IBF has not responded to AIBA, its secretary Rajesh Bhandari told IANS: “We got the AIBA draft a few days ago. Only today, I have replied to AIBA. We have accepted all their guidelines and will be holding elections soon.”
“We are on the job from today onwards,” said Bhandari when asked what was leading to the delay in conducting elections when the suspension was imposed in December.
In February, AIBA had allowed Indian boxers to compete in international tournaments despite IBF’s suspension. Now they face the AIBA ban again. As it is, they are not allowed to wear their India jersey in international tournaments and are forced to compete under the AIBA flag.
Shiva Thapa became the youngest Indian to win the gold at the Asian Championships last month but he was disappointed about not hearing his national anthem at the podium ceremony.
“All the boxers definitely feel for not being able to wear the India jersey and hear their anthem. I hope the issue is sorted out soon and the suspension is lifted,” national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu told IANS from Patiala where he is conducting trials for the Almaty Worlds.
(Bharat Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)