The Indian contingent is back from the Doha International Tournament with seven medals (four gold, one silver and two bronze). The winners―Devendro Singh, Shiva Thapa, Manoj Kumar, Manish Kaushik, Gaurav Bidhuri, Mandeep Jangra and Vikas Krishan―are now preparing for the World Boxing Championship in Doha in October. Meanwhile, five teenage girls―Savita, Mandeep Sandhu, Sakshi, Soniya and Gonella Niharika―won medals at the Junior World Championships in Taipei. A rosy picture, indeed.
The bouts in the ring, however, have been overshadowed by the fighting outside. In a special general meeting on May 3, Boxing India, which was formed last September, ousted its president, Sandeep Jajodia, with a no-confidence motion. He lost the motion 2 to 55 as 57 of 64 general body members voted. The motion also included secretary Jay Kowli, who did not wait for the vote―he resigned a day before. His relationship with the president had soured as he had been accused of forging Jajodia's signature in a letter to the Asian Boxing Confederation.
The mess in boxing administration shows no signs of clearing and the International Boxing Association (AIBA) has taken note of the power struggle.
Said veteran boxing coach E. Chiranjeevi: “All boxers, senior and junior, are being taken care of by the Sports Authority of India. It is conducting regular camps and sending teams for international events as Boxing India is not recognised by the sports ministry. Our standard in boxing will be judged by how many boxers qualify for the Olympics.”
AIBA, which has not accepted the changes in BI, said: “We are not at all pleased with whatever is happening in India. We do not know whom to talk to. Boxing India has not even been registered. We gave affiliation to it last November and it is disappointing that it is still not a registered body.” If this continues, BI could soon be derecognised. This, in turn, would mean that Indian boxers would be denied entry to international events, which would be a body blow, especially as the qualifying events for the Rio Olympics start with the World Championship in October.
Jajodia, however, is not ready to throw in the towel. “This special general meeting is illegal for several reasons. Boxing India is not registered as a society and no SGM can be called pending the incorporation,” he said. The anti-Jajodia camp asserts that AIBA should accept the unanimous decision.
The current mess can be traced back to December 2012, when AIBA suspended the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation, led by Jat leader Abhay Chautala, for allegedly manipulating its elections. BI, a rival body spearheaded by Jajodia, was granted affiliation. While the sports ministry derecognised the IABF for not complying with government guidelines, the Indian Olympic Association continued to recognise it and refused to accept BI. The sports ministry has discussed all boxing matters with BI over the past year and has all but recognised it. The biggest stumbling block, however, is that BI has not registered itself as a society.
“In the past year, no bank account has been opened, the body has not been registered and no documentation is taking place. These things are embarrassing for all of us,” said Asit Banerjee, president of West Bengal Boxing Association, who led the revolt against Jajodia. The ousted president has also been accused of running the show singlehandedly and failing to explain expenses. Members were also upset about BI's failure to organise the junior men's and women's national championships. Not registering the body, however, has been Jajodia's biggest failure. “Why is he using non-registration as an excuse? We don't even know the status of registration, which state he has applied in,” said a BI member.
The sports ministry had given a no-objection certificate to the corporate affairs ministry in January and has been waiting for BI to register. The members, however, said they were not told about such a clearance.
BI members are now hoping the IOA will take up the issue with AIBA. Sources say IOA president N. Ramachandran will meet AIBA and International Olympic Committee officials in Lausanne soon. “We think the IOA should intervene and guide us,” said Banerjee. “The no-confidence motion is a closed chapter; it is over.”