National

Factional feud in governing body affecting boxing’s prospects

Saba Nayakan Kolkata | Updated on October 06, 2013

Boxing in India is at the crossroads. It has been more than a year since the Indian Boxing Federation (IBF) was suspended by AIBA, the governing body for the sport globally. Despite the sanctions, there has been no effort to get back to the world boxing mainstream although Indian boxers are being allowed to participate in various tournaments.

One section of the IBF seems to be gearing up for a long-drawn battle with the world body. The one opposed to the ruling group is demanding that the present body be disbanded and an ad-hoc committee administer (and liaison with the AIBA) the sport in its place.

Former IBF secretary-general, P.K. Muralidharan Raja, now one of the vice-presidents of the national body, with support from some State associations, recently called for a meeting in New Delhi to resolve the crisis. Eighteen out of 33 affiliated units are reported to have attended the meeting.

The IBF reacted strongly, saying Raja did not have any authority to call meetings without the approval of the national body.

It also produced a letter written by the legal department of the AIBA on September 25, addressed to Raja where the international association told him he did not have the sanction to hold these meetings.

It also informed that Raja’s proposal to invite a representative of the Union Government as well as the Sports Authority of India was contrary to the AIBA statutes which prohibit government interference in the election process.

Clear signal

The latest communication from the world governing body is a clear indication of its stand with regard to the IBF and its future.

It is also clear that the world body would like to discuss and solve the outstanding issues within the framework of IBF’s rules and regulations and it has no intention of supporting any dissidents within or outside the Indian body.

The latest move by Raja and his ilk has a direct link to the International Olympics Committee-Indian Olympic Association stand-off.

Insiders say it was orchestrated by one influential person in the Indian association to ensure the complete annihilation of Haryana strongman Abhay Singh Chautala, who was elected President of the IOA, but derecognised by the IOC. The IBF wrangle has become a place to settle personal scores and egos at the cost of the sport in the country.

As M.C. Mary Kom, pained by the suspension of the IBF, said, the ban was proving to be a “mental barrier” for the boxers. The London Olympics bronze medallist had appealed to the authorities to resolve the crisis in the interest of the country. This was in January.

Yet, nothing seems to have been done until now.

>sabanayakan.s@thehindu.co.in

Published on October 06, 2013

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