CHENNAI: The newly-formed Boxing Federation of India was shaken for a while before Delhi HC came to its rescue. As BFI was getting ready to hold the elections that could lift the international boxing association’s quasi-ban permanently, the erstwhile Indian Amateur Boxing Federation of India approached the HC to stay the elections.
However, the court said there was no urgency to hear the matter on Friday. The bench was headed by justices Indira Bannerjee and VK Rao. The judges refused to buy IABF’s argument that the matter should be treated urgently and September 25 elections stayed immediately.
The boxing fraternity showed surprise at the sudden development as until now the IABF was silent. The petition was moved by Abhishek Matoria, the former president of the federation that was banned in 2012. He is the son-in-law of Abhey Singh Chautala, who was the president of the federation for 12 years, and was ineligible to contest because of the Sports Code that forbid presidents to hold posts for more than three full terms. The IABF had argued that if BFI were elected, then the sport of boxing will be ruined as IABF is still the legitimate body.
Interestingly, Rajesh Bhandari, the two-time secretary general of IABF and president of the Himachal Pradesh Boxing Association, too is contesting the elections. “The situation is different now and it’s not the time to fight,” he said. “We must get together to save boxing and bury the hatchet so that we go ahead with the elections.” Bhandari was earlier contesting for the president’s post but had withdrawn because of Ajay Singh. He is now contesting the vice president’s post.
Asit Banerjee, the BFI executive board chief who has been entrusted to conduct the elections, was surprised by the move. “Now with the elections just couple of days later, the IABF has woken up and gone to court,” he said. “It’s not good for the sport. We have been working towards making it a success and yet there are people who would not want Indian boxing to prosper. It’s surprising.”
Argument of some BFI officials is that if Bhandari, also a secretary general of the IABF could contest, where’s the question of legitimacy? Also BFI, before forming the body, had sought applications from all the units who wanted to join.
“We followed all procedures to get the BFI in order. All the units are part of the BFI now.” Even the AIBA has decided to send its Oceania vice president Edgar Tanner from Australia, who will reach Mumbai on Saturday. Some of the members are already in Mumbai and are trying to have a consensus on the candidature of the secretary general. As of now, it’s a contest between Jay Kowli, Lenny de Gama and Rakesh Thakran.