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Devendro Singh, Akhil Kumar seek speedy resolution to boxing impasse

The Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) which was suspended by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) last year, continues to remain unrecognised by the AIBA after failing to meet the deadline of holding its elections by today, December 4.

Akhil Kumar and Laishram Devendro Singh
Akhil Kumar and Laishram Devendro Singh

The international body had taken cognizance of the complaints about the manner in which the IABF elections were conducted in September 2012, and suspended the latter a couple of months later.

The Indian boxers, however, have not been directly affected thus far, as they were allowed to participate as ‘independent athletes’ under the International Olympic Committee (IOC) flag.

Nevertheless, things could get tricky in the coming months if the impasse does not end soon, especially with qualifying tournaments for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics commencing next year.

For now, the IABF is waiting for the outcome of the crucial general body meeting of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) that’s scheduled for December 8, where they will discuss their constitution, ahead of the IOC meeting in Switzerland on December 10, during which they may take a call on India’s participation in the Olympics.

Not affected, but...
The boxers, meanwhile, are hoping for the best and are keen to see this issue resolved as soon as possible. “Frankly, we have not been affected by the administrative problems that our association is facing.

Paddy Barnes and Laishram Devendro Singh
Paddy Barnes of Ireland (in red) defends against Laishram Devendro Singh of India (in blue) during the light flyweight boxing quarter-finals of the 2012 London Olympics at the ExCel Arena on August 8, 2012. Pic/AFP

We have got a chance to participate in all important competitions so far. But it is in the interest of Indian boxing that these issues are solved quickly,” said Akhil Kumar, a Commonwealth Games gold medallist and a quarter-finalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Thanks to their exploits, pugilists of the calibre of Akhil, Vijender Singh (bronze at the Beijing Olympics) and MC Mary Kom (bronze at the 2012 London Olympics) helped raise the profile of the sport in the country and that’s something which Akhil felt needs to be protected.

“I have given my best years to boxing, and that’s something the current crop of youngsters are doing. They have the potential to do well in the coming Olympics, and if these administrative issues are resolved soon, they will be able to concentrate on their performance and the results will be visible in Rio,” he added.

Meanwhile, L Devendro Singh, who excelled at the London Olympics before losing in the quarter-finals exuded similar sentiments. “I am in Pune and will be leaving for the camp in Patiala tomorrow. We have got all the support that’s required so far, but it will be nice if our federation is recognised by the AIBA and IOC. After all, we always want to fight under our national flag,” he said.

“Our job is to make the country proud and we are doing our best while preparing for the important competitions in 2014 like the Commonwealth Games (in Glasgow) and the Asian Games (in Incheon, Korea). Everyone has seen that we are capable of producing good results and hopefully, we will continue getting full support and win many more medals for India,” he added. 

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