The punch Indian boxers pack in the international arena these days is no defence against them getting KO'd by officialdom at home.
Women pugilist M.C. Marykom (who won gold at the World Championships in Moscow last year), the men's team that clinched four golds at the Commonwealth Championships in Scotland last August and about 15 other boxers find themselves floored by expired cheques given to them as prize money by the government. This, when the Doha Asian Games are only months away and they need the money for training.
Marykom was issued two cheques totalling Rs 13 lakh, while others were issued cheques for a lesser amount. When the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) decided to disburse the cheques to the boxers, it found that they had expired on June 30. (The IABF had got the cheques on July 4.)
All the boxers — including Commonwealth Championships gold medallists Akhil Kumar, Vijender Kumar, Som Bahadur Pun and Jetender Kumar — feel cheated.
The cheques were issued by the Connaught Place branch of Canara Bank. The numbers on the cheques issued to Marykom were 703937 and 703934.
Dud cheques, and worse, are not new to Indian sports. A couple of months back, Haryana boxers were felicitated for their medal-winning performance at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games. Their reward: empty envelopes.