Light welterweight (64kg) boxer Manoj Kumar, who became the third pugilist from the country to qualify for the Rio Olympics, is hopeful Prime Minister Narendra Modi will step in to resolve the administrative mess that has plagued Indian boxing for close to a year.
Manoj, who recently tweeted his desire to apprise the Prime Minister of the “terrible” situation of the sport in the country, met Modi on Monday.
“@narendramodi @PMOIndia Sir I want to gt an appointment 2 meet U on 28th June. Want to discuss abt terrible situatn of boxing in d country..(sic),” he tweeted on June 24, soon after sealing his Olympic berth.
Though the meeting didn’t happen on June 28, the 29-year-old did meet the Prime Minister before the official launch of Olympians Association of India.
“He (PM) couldn’t give much time, but he said he will certainly look into the matter. I requested him to ensure that quick steps are taken to set Indian boxing in order. Let’s hope something is done,” he told HT.
“Our job is to work hard. We are athletes, not politicians. Not having a federation surely is a big problem. Last Olympics, eight boxers (seven men, one woman) had represented India. This time, we are just three.”
Later, Manoj posted a selfie with the Prime Minister on Twitter. “Glad 2 meet our energetic #PM @narendramodi Ji in a pgm. Ur words gv us energy 2 bring laurel 4 country in #Rio,” he wrote.
Apart from Manoj, Shiva Thapa (56 kg) and Vikas Krishan Yadav (75 kg) have qualified for the quadrennial event.
Manoj, a gold medallist at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, booked his seat for Rio at the World Qualification event in Baku last month, where he won bronze. Thereafter, he was included in government’s Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme.