THRISSUR:Controversy continued to dog Boxing events at the National Games after two boxers were knocked out of the competition before their bouts even began.
The duo — Vijender of Rajasthan and Lalnunhlua of Mizoram — were in for a rude shock when they arrived for their bouts at the Triprayar Indoor stadium. They were informed by officials that their bouts were already over and that their opponents, both pugilists representing hosts Kerala, had been awarded walkovers.
Earlier, officials made the decision to start the opening day’s proceedings, scheduled to start at 4pm in both the Games website and in notices handed out to teams, four hours early. However, both Rajasthan and Mizoram alleged they had not been made aware of the decision.
A distraught Vijender was seen sitting in the stands with his head in his hands while Rajasthan officials pleaded their case with organisers. “The Games schedule says the boxing event starts at 4 pm. The notices they gave to us say the same. Yet they decided to start the bouts without informing us. We are staying at a hotel that is more than 20km away. How can we make it in time if they don’t tell us of rescheduling in advance?” he asked.
Mizoram team officials were equally livid. “This is a very sad state of affairs. We've come from so far and spent such a lot of money to reach here. Now they are telling us that our boxer cannot fight. Nobody informed us that the bouts were starting early. They have to reconsider their decision,” Mizoram’s team manager Lalhmingmawia Ralte told TNIE.
“In my ten years of coaching, not one of my boxers have conceded a match due to not arriving on time. This is not acceptable,” Duhzuala Lal, the team’s boxing coach, chipped in.
Officials at the venue claimed that all teams had been notified of the change in schedule.
Kerala Boxers Under Scrutiny
There was more cause for complaint for the disgruntled duo as doubts persist over the eligibility of their opponents — Vijaya Kumar and Kulwinder of Kerala.
Responding to a petition filed by boxers from the state who had been not selected for the Games, the legal counsel for the Kerala State Amateur Boxing Association admitted three members of Kerala, including Vijaya Kumar and Kulwinder, were neither residents of the state nor were working there.