Boxing: In open letter to national federations, IBA chief stresses importance of unity

“I hereby write to provide you with an update on recent developments and to reinforce the importance of unity within our boxing community,”

Published: 15th June 2023 08:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th June 2023 08:24 AM   |  A+A-

Umar Kremlev during IBA Women’s World Championships in New Delhi earlier this year. (Photo | Express)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI:  Amateur boxing has been engulfed in issues off the ring for a long time and is now staring at an uncertain future after the International Olympic Committee’s recommendation to the IOC Session to withdraw recognition of the International Boxing Association (IBA), the governing body of the sport, last week. This means the sport is in danger of missing out on the Olympics in future.

After several reforms, IBA chief Umar Kremlev was hopeful of getting the backing from IOC but it was not to be. After the IOC’s latest call, Kremlev, in an open letter to all the national federations affiliated with IBA, stressed the importance of togetherness in times like this.

“I hereby write to provide you with an update on recent developments and to reinforce the importance of unity within our boxing community,” Kremlev wrote.

Despite the unfavourable decision, Kremlev noted that the IBA does not have any issues with IOC and called out on ‘certain personalities who attempt to destroy the sport’.

“We do not have any issues with the IOC or the Olympic Movement, but rather, we have issues with certain personalities, who continue the way of CK Wu and attempt to destroy boxing through their pursuit of personal benefits,” he said. Wu was formerly the president of the world boxing federation and was also a member of the IOC.

“It is truly sad to see certain sports administrators, who should be peacekeepers and call for transparency and honesty but have clearly forgotten about their direct responsibilities, which are to protect every national federation, athletes, and coaches,” he added.

In a detailed 24-page report, IOC explained why IBA failed to regain recognition. IBA was under suspension for governance issues, lack of financial transparency and for issues surrounding its refereeing and judging process.

“The report establishes that the IBA has failed to fulfil the conditions set by the IOC in its decision communicated to the IBA on 9 December 2021 – which was not challenged by the IBA – for lifting the suspension of the IBA’s recognition,” the IOC Executive Board had stated on June 7.

This is a long-standing issue with IBA (formerly known as AIBA) being under suspension since 2019. Kremlev joined in late 2020 and had made several reforms in a bid to regain IOC recognition.

“We saved our organization that was on the brink of bankruptcy. Our problems were rooted in the past, and we are not the ones to be blamed for it,” he noted.

“It is we who are cleaning the sport of boxing, not the IOC and its members. We develop our sport. The Olympic Games are held once every four years, while we are taking care of all other competitions. We are responsible to children, boxers and coaches, and our mission is to defend their rights and independence.” he added. The IOC Session (the world body’s supreme body), which will make the ultimate call, is now due to decide the fate of the IBA on June 22.

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