Thiruvananthapuram: The controversy-ridden boxing competition of the 35th National Games was off to a stormy start with the participating teams alleging that "ill-equipped" organisers were using the old pattern of scoring and threatening those who protest against the move.
Competition Director Narendra More said a total of 27 teams and the Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) -- adding up to 127 men and 55 women -- have registered for the competition, which kicked off in Thrissur on Friday.
The boxing event was under a cloud from the very beginning after the sport's new governing body -- Boxing India -- threatened to ban the pugilists and officials participating in the National Games. BI had stated that the decision was forced by the Indian Olympic Association's refusal to grant recognition to it.
"The teams are here, the competition is on but it is a total mess. They don't have the software to implement the new scoring system, so they have decided to go with the old pattern. Some teams have already protested against a move for which they were not prepared at all. They have demanded that in case the old system is used, boxers should be allowed to use the headguards as well," an official of a participating team told PTI.
The old pattern of scoring fetched points for every connected punch but the new format is more subjective with boxers, who are no longer allowed headguards, being rewarded for overall ring craft besides the number of blows.
"Even the technical officials are not well versed with the new format of scoring. 70 per cent of them have no clue what is the pattern now. Moreover, how can the boxers be expected to suddenly revert to the old system after training in the new pattern?" asked another team official.