Many of India’s top boxing stars have confirmed their participation at the National Games despite the ongoing rift between Boxing India and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
Olympic and World Championship bronze-medallist Vijender Singh, Commonwealth Games gold medallist Manoj Kumar, and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Pinki Jangra have all declared their intentions to compete at the Games at the end of January, refusing to become punching bags in the dispute between the two governing bodies.
“In this fight between Boxing India and IOA, it’s the boxers who are actually suffering,” Singh told the Chandigarh Tribune.
“We don’t want to suffer anymore.”
“National Games is an important event and in no way I am going to miss it.”
Boxing in India was left in a state of disarray earlier this month after the IOA declined Boxing India’s request to be named the official National Federation for Boxing in India.
The IOA instead continued to support the defunct Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) which was suspended by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) and Indian Government in 2012.
It was only after Boxing India was formed that India’s boxing ban was lifted, with AIBA President CK Wu having since called for Indian officials to change their mind in order to comply with the Olympic Charter.
A further ban for the Indian boxing fraternity now seems likely if the dispute is not resolved soon, although the country’s fighters are vowing to battle on regardless.
“When AIBA has recognised Boxing India as the National Federation, I don’t see any reason for the IOA to reject their appeal,” said Kumar who was recently presented with the prestigious Arjuna Award.
“I am not going to let my career suffer because of this infighting.”
“I have confirmed my participation for both the senior nationals and the Kerala [National] Games.”
Following their snubbing of Boxing India, the IOA handed the Ad-Hoc Committee of the IABF the responsibility of hosting boxing during the National Games in Kerala from January 31 to February 14.
Boxing India then announced the schedule of the National Boxing Championships in Nagpur from January 9 to 15, which will double up as the National Games qualifiers.
There had been talks that boxers, who would play under the Ad-Hoc Committee banner in the National Games, will not be considered for India selection, but Boxing India has quelled all such speculations.
“We are not going to impose any sanctions on the boxers,” Boxing India secretary Jay Kowli told the Chandigarh Tribune.
“Boxing India is not planning any such drastic step.”
“Boxers have to make a choice who would they like to support – Boxing India or the IOA.”
“We cannot stop them from taking part in the Games.”
“Those who play in the senior nationals will qualify for the Games as their entries will be routed through Boxing India.”
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, insidethegames.