Sarbananda Sonowal may call meeting to end boxing impasse
The long-dragging administrative logjam in Indian boxing will soon have intervention from Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who might call a meeting of all the "stakeholders" to end the impasse, a delegation of state units who met him here has claimed.
New Delhi: The long-dragging administrative logjam in Indian boxing will soon have intervention from Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who might call a meeting of all the "stakeholders" to end the impasse, a delegation of state units who met him here has claimed.
A 15-member delegation, representing the various state units, met the Minister here yesterday, pleading with him to step in and resolve the "crisis".
Indian boxing has been in a state of disarray ever since the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) was terminated in 2013 owing to manipulation in elections.
The new body -- Boxing India -- which was formed last year after elections monitored by the International Boxing Association (AIBA), also failed to run the show and its President Sandeep Jajodia and Secretary General Jay Kowli were sacked via a No Confidence Motion.
The sport is currently being administered by an ad-hoc committee appointed by AIBA.
"We are orphans right now and have just one demand that we should get a National Federation. It does not matter what name it is given but there should be a National Federation.
Secondly, the boxers deserve to have the National Championships. Even if it takes time to put a new body in place, we should get the go ahead to conduct the National Championships," West Bengal representative Asit Banerjee, who attended the meeting with Sonowal, told PTI.
"The Minister heard us patiently and promised that if necessary, he would call a meeting of all the stakeholders in Indian boxing to figure out a solution. He said the issue is a top priority for him right now. He is waiting for a report from the Sports Authority of India Director General Injeti Srinivas before deciding on the matter," he added.
Interestingly, the terminated IABF's President Abhishek Matoria and Secretary General Rajesh Bhandari were also present in yesterday's meeting with the Minister.
Should the Minister decide to hold a meeting with the stakeholders, it would include representatives from IABF, Boxing India as well as the ad-hoc committee.
"We merely want boxing to start again. The National Championships should happen as soon as possible. We have requested the Minister to get in touch with AIBA and involve them as well so that there is no misunderstanding later on," said Bhandari.
Banerjee said if all goes well, the state units will combine to conduct the Junior Nationals next month in either Jaipur or Hanumangarh.
"Even if we are asked to conduct fresh elections, it is fine with us because for how long can an ad-hoc arrangement continue? We made mistakes in the past, we are not even saying that we have been always right but this situation has gone on for too long now," he said.
The ad-hoc committee, headed by India's representative in AIBA, Jay Kowli, was mandated by the world body to find a group suitable to run the sport after Boxing India fell apart.
However, the committee, which also includes the SAI DG, has been selecting teams for international tournaments as well.
"We are okay with any arrangement as long as there is a functional national federation because right now India's Olympic preparations have been left in limbo because of this mess. And Mr Sonowal seems very inclined to resolve this quickly," said another official, who attended yesterday's meeting.