The country’s top junior pugilists have been hit hard by the uncertainty over the status of the boxing federation for the last two years. The national championship in the category has not been held for three years and they have got to compete only in the school nationals.
Even as they continue to suffer, the ad-hoc committee has now shortchanged them by clearing boxers in only nine out of 13 weight categories for the junior world championship in St Petersburg (Sept 4-12) despite the event getting the sports ministry’s nod.
The ad-hoc panel, following the selection trials on August 4-5, has excluded four weight categories — 63kg, 70kg, 80kg and +80kg — from the list. The decision has not gone down well with the excluded boxers and the father of Harshpreet Sahrawat, Satish Kumar, has written to the sports minister alleging that the selection trials were biased.
“Harshpreet is the school nationals champion for the last three years in the +80kg category and, during the trials, made his opponent count twice. Despite that, the ad-hoc committee has not selected any boxer in the +80 category,” said Satish.
The international boxing association, AIBA, had formed an ad-hoc committee to look after the affairs of Indian boxing after Boxing India (BI) got embroiled in administrative wrangling that led to the ouster of its president Sandeep Jajodia and secretary Jay Kowli.
“I was not present during the trials, so it would not be appropriate on my part to comment on the trials. But the information I have is that two of the boxers didn’t have passports, so their weight (categories) were not included,” said Kowli, an ad-hoc committee member.
When asked if the boxers had been informed about the world championship well in advance so that they could have their documents in place, Kowli said, “You know the situation here. So, ultimately, it’s the boxers who are paying for it,” said Kowli.