CHENNAI: The long-awaited boxing body in India has officially taken shape. The lost optimism is on the surface again, but the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) seems to be divided on its call to support the recently-formed Boxing Federation of India (BFI). The IOA, which until the last annual general body meeting had been recognising the now-defunct Indian Amateur Boxing Association (IABF), decided against sending an observer to the BFI elections.
This time around, the IOA has not objected to the elections like in the past. According to an official, only on technical grounds they have not sent an observer. This decision, however, was taken by the IOA president. Interestingly, a top IOA official has revealed that getting affiliation this time should not be problem for the BFI. All the members of the BFI quit their posts in the IABF to join the former. It has been learnt this time if the BFI sends an application for affiliation it most probably will be accepted at the general assembly. Ajay Singh, chairman and managing director of SpiceJet, too is a more acceptable candidate. Rajeev Mehta, the secretary general of the IOA too has been backing him.
According to a letter (dated September 23, in possession of Express), IOA president N Ramachandran stood by the decision that was taken during last year’s AGM. “We need to respect the decision taken by the members at the IOA AGM. There is no need to send an observer,” his letter, sent two days before the BFI polls, stated.
Mehta, however, wanted to send an observer. “Today, the game of boxing is immensely suffering due to absence of a permanent body. The sporting world, including the Indian and international media, is closely following the elections to be held on September 25. Under these circumstances, if IOA fails to send an observer and support the elections, IOA will attract great criticism,” Mehta’s wrote.