Indian boxers to play under national flag at Rio

  • Navneet Singh, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jul 15, 2016 18:53 IST
Indian Olympic bronze medallist Vijender Singh, who has since turned pro, is one of the many who raised concerns over the state of boxing in the country. (Getty Images)

Three Rio bound Indian boxers—Shiva Thapa (56kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg) and Vikas Krishan (75kg)---have been allowed to fight under the national flag at the Olympic Games beginning August 5 in Brazil.

The boxing world governing body (AIBA) has allowed the Indian team to host the tri-colour.

Due to infighting between Indian officials the AIBA had suspended the national federation in 2012.

“That worry is over as the world body has agreed to give some concession to the Indian team,” said an official associated with the ad-hoc boxing panel.

For the past four years, national competitions were not due to the absence of a national federation. In the absence of a national boxing federation, an ad-hoc panel including chief coach GS Sandu and Sports Authority of India (SAI) director general Injeti Srinivas, were overseeing the day-to-day functioning including the selection trials of the team for International events.

The world body had also barred Indian coaching staff at international bouts, which had a negative impact on the performance of boxers.

At Rio, AIBA might also allow Indian officials to accompany the boxers.

Due to legal hassles, elections to elect new office-bearers were often postponed and severely curtailed the development of the discipline in the country. At the London Games, eight boxers had qualified.

Four years later, the number is three.

Recently, India’s Olympics bronze medalists Vijender Singh, who has turned pro, raised his concern on the matter.

Vijender also apprised Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the state of affairs of Indian boxing and said strong action should be taken against those responsible for the mess.

In the past four months, election dates were announced at least four times, but no elections were held.

But this Sunday ad-hoc panel will have a crucial meeting at Mumbai, to take stock of situation and accordingly announce the fresh dates of elections.

“Hopefully, the office bearer of new body would be elected soon,” said an official associated with ad-hoc panel.

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