• Thu. Sep 28th, 2023

Indian boxers are concerned as the sport confronts uncertainty in Paris in 2024.

ByJosh Taylor

Dec 26, 2022

With the next Olympics coming, the rivalry between the International Olympic Committee and the International Boxing Association is heating up.
The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) warning that boxing might be dropped from the 2024 Paris Olympics due to growing discontent with the International Boxing Association’s (IBA) efforts to clean up the sport has made Indian fighters nervous.
Indian boxers have won medals in three of the previous four Olympics and are hoping to finish on the podium in Paris. However, the turbulence in global boxing over its Olympic status may ruin their chances.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has expressed significant concerns about the IBA’s administration, financial mismanagement, refereeing, and judging, and has not been pleased with the improvements started by the international boxing organisation under Russian President Umar Kremlev in the previous two years.
Last year, the IOC declared that boxing would be removed from the inaugural programme of the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics, and that it would take over qualifying for Paris by putting the process under its Task Force, as it did for the Tokyo Olympics.
“Boxers are understandably concerned about the events,” said Narender Rana, India’s national men’s coach, on Sunday. “We try to convince them that the international body is doing all necessary, but they remain apprehensive.”
According to the IOC schedule, the Asian Games, which have been postponed by China to September-October of next year, would serve as a qualifier for Indian boxers, in addition to two global qualification events scheduled for 2024. The Hangzhou Asian Games were postponed last year owing to Covid, and its future remains uncertain. Nine Indian boxers qualified for Tokyo, with bronze going to Lovlina Borgohain.
The IBA-IOC feud appears to be far from over. Kremlev stated at the IBA Congress in Abu Dhabi last month that boxers would not compete in the Olympics unless the IBA was there.
“I want to stress that without the IBA, nobody fighter, coach, or national federation would compete in the Olympics. This has been requested by the boxers.”
IBA renewing a multimillion-dollar deal with Russia’s state energy behemoth Gazprom is a key source of contention for IOC. Allowing boxers from Russia and its partner Belarus to fight in IBA competitions under their flag, despite IOC sanctions, is another.
The latest IBA Congress shown once again that the IBA is solely concerned in its own power and not about boxing or fighters. “The choices and talks to exclude boxers from Olympic qualifications and the Olympic Games cannot be construed in any other manner,” the IOC stated in a statement.
Referring to the sponsorship extension with Gazprom and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ruling that did not result in a new presidential election, the IOC stated that it “will have to take all of this into consideration when it takes further decisions, which may have to include the cancellation of boxing for the Olympic Games Paris 2024.”
The IBA stated in a statement on Saturday that the threat to ban boxing from Paris was the IOC’s latest attack on boxers. ”
The Olympics are a global athletic asset that belongs all athletes from all sports and cannot be used as a tool of extortion by International Sports Federations for purely political reasons, as is now happening.
IBA will continue to advocate for its athletes to ensure that they have every chance and equal right to compete in the Olympic Games.

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