The latest showdown between the international boxing association (AIBA) and the suspended Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) has put a question mark over the participation of India’s top boxers at international competitions.
This after AIBA — which first allowed the Indian youth team to participate in the Abbas Agalarov International Youth Cup to be held in Azerbaijan capital of Baku from December 19-24 — wrote to former IABF secretary-general Brig PK Muralidhar Raja that “no communication whatsoever will be done with the suspended IABF” of which Abhishek Matoria was elected president in September.
Not just this, the AIBA has strictly barred Indian officials from the said event, saying “it will not entertain any official of a banned body till the new elections are held under AIBA’s observer”. This clearly means if the elections are not held at the earliest, the participation of Indian boxers’ in future international meets could be under serious threat.
An unfazed Abhay Singh Chautala, who is the chairman of the suspended body, has termed this decision “confusing” and vowed to take up the matter with the AIBA. “On one hand, the world body says it will only deal with the old body of which I was president and Brig Raja secretary-general. We’ll try and convince them the elections held in September were conducted democratically and with transparency. Hopefully, they will understand our position and allow us to work,” said Chautala.
However, Chautala had no answer when asked about the fate of India’s boxers. Top Indian boxers, including 2008 Beijing Olympics medallist Vijender Singh, will be travelling to Europe and Cuba in January to take part in few invitational events.
When the Boxing Federation of Azerbaijan invited India for the above-mentioned Baku event, IABF secretary-general Rajesh Bhandari immediately wrote to AIBA, seeking permission. “Boxers and coaches may participate in this event but no official(s) whatsoever,” AIBA’s director of external relations Patricia Steulet said in her reply to Brig Raja, thus snubbing Bhandari.
AIBA’s mail further asked Brig Raja to “please instruct below person (Bhandari) to stop communicating with AIBA. He is not recognised as the secretary-general of IABF and therefore, we will not communicate with him”.