Asian Games: Indian boxers may not participate under national flag
New Delhi: Indian boxers may not compete under the national flag and coaches also won't be allowed at the ringside in the Incehon Asian Games Sep 19-Oct 4 if Boxing India doesn't host fresh elections scheduled for Sep 11.
SAI Director General Jiji Thomson told reporters here Wednesday that boxers may not be allowed to take part in the Asian Games under the Indian flag by the International Boxing Federation (AIBA). The world body, which had terminated the membership of the Indian Amatuer Boxing Federation (IABF), has given the mandate to Boxing India to form a new elected body.
"There is a realistic chance of Indian boxers not taking part under Indian flag. We have apprehensions that AIBA will not allow them to represent India if the elections (to Boxing India) are not held as scheduled (on September 11)," Thomson said while assessing India's performance in Glasgow Commonwealth Games and preparations for the Asian Games.
Indian boxers were also initially not allowed to participate in the Commonwealth Games under the Indian flag. But it was only after the intervention of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president N. Ramachandran and his assurances that boxers were allowed and coaches were also permitted at the ring side.
"Indian boxers took part in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games under the understanding that elections will be held soon after the CWG. So, I hope the elections are held as per schedule. Otherwise, our boxers may not take part under Indian flag," Thomson added.
SAI Executive Director (Teams) Sudhir Setia said that in the absence of an elected body, boxers are suffering and are also not able to get foreign exposure as other member countries are not ready to host them.
"Cuba has been one country which has really helped Indian boxing in the last 10 years. But even that country was reluctant to host Indian boxers, when we were planning to send them there. We have gathered from various sources that the domestic mess is hurting the sport. Especially, the boxing coaches are fearing that Indian boxers may not take part under national flag in the Asian Games," he said.
Setia also lauded the Indian boxers for their decent performance in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games without any proper foreign exposure tours.
"It was a praiseworthy performance from the Indian boxers in Glasgow as they competed without enough foreign exposure. We were ready to send them anywhere for foreign exposure which is necessary before taking part in a big event but other countries were not ready to accept our boxers," he added.