Haryana boxing chiefs spar; certificates, medals useless

With two factions running the show in boxing in Haryana, certificates given to participants aren’t recognised by the national body or the state government.

india Updated: Sep 15, 2018 22:46 IST
Saurabh Duggal
Saurabh Duggal
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Haryana boxing chiefs,Haryana,boxing
Amit Panghal (in blue), who won the men’s 49kg gold medal at the recently concluded Asian Games in Indonesia, is one of the many boxers to have emerged from Haryana. (PTI)

Haryana boxers may be packing a punch at the international level, but the officials running the show in the state are leaving the budding players confused and disillusioned. In the absence of a recognised state body, two factions in the state are running the show, organising a surfeit of tournaments, but the certificates given to the champions are simply pieces of scrap as they are neither recognised by the national body, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), nor by the state government.

The primary reason Haryana sportspersons take up boxing is to get a decent government job. But the purpose is not being served as the certificates are not recognised.

“There are two bodies in Haryana organising their own championships and many boxers are competing in tournaments organised by both factions. But the certificates issued by both the bodies are not technically valid,” says a Bhiwani-based boxing coach. “However, we have our own compulsions and have to send our trainees to these championships. Because of the factionalism, we are also scared that our wards will be victimised if we send them to a tournament orgainsed by the other faction,” he says.

Indian National Lok Dal leader Abhay Singh Chautala is the head of the Haryana Amateur Boxing Association (HABA), while the Boxing Association of Haryana is headed by Om Prakash Dhankar, a minister in the BJP-led government.

While the Chautala-led state faction was suspended in October last year because he tried to revive the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) and create a parallel power structure to BFI, Dhankar’s faction is not yet affiliated to BFI and the affairs of the sport in the state are being run by a BFI-instituted ad-hoc committee. And within the two factions too, the Dhankar-led Boxing Association of Haryana is tacitly getting BFI’s support to keep Chautala at bay.

This year, HABA has organised three state championships and is also organising the sub-junior nationals under the aegis of IABF from October 12 to 16 in Bhiwani.

Rakesh Thakran, secretary, HABA, the Chautala-led faction, says despite the IABF having no standing, as the sports ministry or the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) don’t recognise it, “We will continue giving a platform to boxers to perform. We have no issues if boxers, who are competing in our tournaments, are also participating in tournaments organised by some other group (Boxing Association of Haryana).”

Rivals Boxing Association of Haryana have also organised five tournaments and since last October, state teams for the Nationals have been selected from their tournaments.

Now, under the banner of the ad-hoc committee, the senior men’s state championship will be held from October 7 to 10 in Sirsa, the funding for which is being arranged by Boxing Association of Haryana. “We will arrange the funds from our own resources for the championships,” says Ashwani Sharma, who is a member of the ad-hoc panel and is also secretary-general of Boxing Association of Haryana.

There could be a serious conflict of interest here with Ashwini holding two key posts — in the ad-hoc committee and the Boxing Association of Haryana — and with national selection at stake, chances of free and fair selection could be compromised.

The war between factions is unlikely to end soon with the Chautala faction ready to take the issue to court if BFI initiates the election process. “If BFI decides to hold elections, we will approach court. We are only suspended, not banned. And the suspension can be revoked,” says Thakran.

First Published: Sep 15, 2018 22:44 IST