Indian boxing is indeed going through trying times. Administration wrangling has hurt the sport severely over the last few months, prompting the International Boxing Federation (AIBA) to appoint a five-member ad-hoc committee headed by former international referee and the country’s representative in the world body, Kishen Narsi, to find a group that can organise and administer the sport in the country last June.
The forming of this ad-hoc committee followed high ‘administrative drama’ in the month of May when Boxing India – a body which secured AIBA recognition in September 2014 after the world body had banned the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) in December 2012 – saw its president Sandeep Jajodia being ousted after a no-confidence motion was passed against him by several state units and voted out, as they were unhappy with his functioning as well as that of secretary Jay Kowli, who stepped down hours before the special general meeting.
One thought that Indian boxing will be back to its best – to run the sport in an organised manner – when AIBA recognised Boxing India as the authorised body to run boxing in the country.
Sadly, subtle politicking took centre stage as several state units kept throwing a spanner in the works of Boxing India, who despite their best efforts failed to secure the recognition of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), which meant funds were not coming to the coffers of Boxing India, which made it difficult for the Sandeep Jajodia-Jay Kowli and his team to run the sport. One is not sure why the IOA did not accord recognition to Boxing India and there were hushed whispers that IOA officials had a say in the ouster of Jajodia at the SGM.
Nagaland Boxing Association secretary Meren Paul took over as interim Boxing India President after the exit of Jajodia, but within a month of that happening, the AIBA constituted the Kishen Narsi-headed five-member ad-hoc committee (it also includes ousted Boxing India secretary Jay Kowli as well as SAI DG Injeti Srinivas). It’s been close to two months that the ad-hoc committee was appointed and one really do not know for sure what they have been doing during this period to find a group that can run the sport in the country.
“This ad-hoc committee has been holding trials for various competitions, but no one really knows what’s the status as far as finding a group to run the sport is concerned. It is time the Sports Ministry intervenes and fixes some accountability on this ad-hoc committe or formulate a strategy to ensure boxing is running smoothly through an efficient, committed body,” says a former national coach.
With the 2016 Rio Olympics just a year away, boxing is one sport where India can seriously harbour medal hopes even after the ‘pro route’ taken by star pugilist Vijender Singh. The likes of Devendro Singh, Vikash Krishnan Yadav, Shiva Thapa and Sumit Sangwan are bright prospects and on any given day they are capable of upsetting the applecart of top boxers.
More than medals, it is so crucial that this Kishen Narsi-headed five-member ad-hoc committee carries out his primary job of finding a group to run the sport and not drag its feet further as it can have a detrimental effect on the interests of Indian boxing. To be fair to the ad-hoc committee, if they are finding it hard to get a group to run the sport, they must be honest about it and keep the Sports Ministry in the know. Anymore administrative deadlock is the last thing Indian boxing needs.