Boxing coach Sandhu blames warring bodies for performance dip

New Delhi, June 10 (IANS) Chief national coach Gurbaksh Singh Sandhu on Friday blamed the dip in performance of the Indian boxers on the mess and infighting within the national federation for the sport and urged the administrators to set their house in order.

Only one Indian boxer — Shiva Thapa — has qualified for the Olympics starting on August 5 in Rio de Janeiro, a huge dip from the contingent of eight pugilists who went to the London Games four years ago.

Currently, an ad-hoc panel appointed by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) is running the show after bickering between the two suspended rival bodies — Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) and Boxing India (BI) — plunged Indian boxing into chaos.

Sandhu, who has been coaching the national team for more than two decades, said that absence of a federation was a major reason for the decline in performance.

“When there is infighting inside our own house, it is natural that we will be weak. We had made a lot of progress and other nations used to see as a powerful boxing nation. We won many medals, including at the Olympics and the World Championships,” Sandhu told reporters here.

“After 2012, we started fighting among ourselves which then led to the suspension of the association. I am sorry to say this but our situation is poorest ever,” the 63-year-old added.

“We need to stay united and need to come clear on this. We need to think of our house.”

Meanwhile, Delhi Amateur Boxing Association president Rohit Jainendra Jain said he will stand for the post of president in the “new body” — the Boxing Federation of India (BFI).

“He is confident that Indian boxing would be in place by ensuring that elections for the national body are held soon,” a release said.

However, Jain said the picture was still not clear as far as elections were concerned.

–IANS

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