Indian boxers feel the pinch

Saurabh Duggal

Chandigarh, Dec. 13 -- The youth squad, which is to tour Azerbaijan for the Abbas Agalarov Cup later this month, is likely to experience the first fallout of the suspension of the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) by the world body (AIBA). After IABF's suspension on December 6, the Azerbaijan Boxing Federation is set to withdraw its invitation to the 10-member Indian squad.

"The federation has taken a chance by applying for the team's visa and completing other formalities, but the Azerbaijan federation is going to withdraw its invitation to India. As per AIBA rules, no national body can entertain a suspended federation, as it can also be liable for action," an IABF official told HT late on Wednesday.

The Abbas Agalarov Cup is an open invitational event, but is organised under the aegis of the Azerbaijan federation and also has the sanction of the European Boxing Confederation (EUBC).

A statement on the AIBA website reads, "Further to the IOC's suspension imposed on the IOA, the AIBA executive committee bureau decided on December 6 to provisionally suspend the IABF. This provisional suspension is also due to the fact that AIBA had learned about the possible manipulation of the recent IABF elections. AIBA will now investigate this election and especially a potential political link between IOA president, a former chairman of the IABF, and the IABF election."

After the suspension, Indian boxers competed in the Youth World Boxing Championship in Armenia where they won silver and two bronze. This was so as the meet was on when the suspension took place.

The youth team had got the clearance from the sports ministry as it is part of the long-term development plan.

"If this happens, it will be a shock for the boxers. We had planned a number of invitational meets for the senior team in Europe, Asia and Cuba, as part of our preparations for the Asian and World Championships next year," said the official.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.