New Delhi: After the shock suspension of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) handed over a provisional suspension to the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) on Thursday.
The IABF was formerly led by Abhay Singh Chautala, who was also elected as the president of the Indian Olympic Association. The current president of the Indian federation is Abhishek Matoria, who was elected on September 23. Chautala was then nominated the chairman of the national body.
"Further to the International Olympic Committee's suspension imposed on the Indian Olympic Association, the International Boxing Association (AIBA) Executive Committee Bureau has decided today December 6 to provisionally suspend the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF)," the AIBA said in a statement.
"This provisional suspension is also due to the fact that AIBA had learned about possible manipulation of the recent IABF's election.
"AIBA will now investigate this election and especially a potential political link between IOA President, as former Chairman of the IABF, and the IABF election," it added.
Meanwhile, in further development on the suspension 'front', Sports Ministry too took the first steps towards fair elections in the country's national federations.
India's Sports Minister Jitendra Singh said that the decision to de-recognise has been taken as the election of the IABF held on 23.09.2012 were in violation of the procedure laid down in the Sports Code.
In view of this, the entire election needs to be held afresh. The Government has to suspend the recognition of the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation pending fresh elections. A notice will be sent to the IABF to confirm that they will hold fresh elections under independent supervision within a period of 15 days failing which the de-recognition will be made absolute.
Sports Minister Jitendra Singh said, "Indian sportsperson are our top priority. If Boxing Federation doesn't confirm that they will hold re-election in 15 days, we will de-recognise them." (Also read: Govt suggests forming an ad-hoc body to IOC)
The development now also puts a question mark over Chautala's election as IOA President since he came into the fray as an IABF representative. Interestingly, Abhishek Matoria, who was elected as the new IABF President, is his brother-in-law and BJP MLA from Rajasthan.
Receiving the second jolt after the Indian Olympic Association was suspended by the International Olympic Committee, Abhay Singh Chautala finally seemed somewhat submissive on the matter. Speaking on the suspension of the Indian boxing federation by the parent body, Chautala sounded moderate after long.
He said, " We will ask the International Boxing federation to speak with us. The AIBA can send observers and we can have re-election if need be."
He was also willing to relinquish his post as the nominated chairman of the Indian Boxing federation.
Chautala said, "If they have a problem with my post as Chairman, I'm willing to give up that post."
He also expressed confidence that the matter will be resolved soon.
"I spoke with sports secretary about IOA's suspension. I'm confident that the matter will be resolved soon. IOC officials will be on christmas break now, we will communicate with them after that," he concluded.
The shocking development meanwhile had also reached the boxers and Vijender Singh had a disappointing tone to his voice while speaking to NDTV.
The ace Indian boxer said,"I am really disappointed with this suspension. This is bad news for Indian sportsmen."
Vijender also said that the new boxing president was elected fairly.
Vijender said,"I want to continue representing India in future but this news will affect morale of Indian boxers."
The Beijing Olympics bronze-medallist was, however, hopeful that the issue would be resolved soon.
"The next AIBA event is quite far but hopefully we would not sit on it for too long and get the suspension revoked as soon as possible," he said.
Meanwhile, more boxers are coming forward with their disappointment on the issue. NDTV also accessed India's only boxer to get a medal at the London Olympics, Mary Kom. She too seemed in low spirits.
"Disappointed as an athlete. I am mentally & physically upset at the moment," said the ace woman boxer. (Read in full: Vijender, Mary Kom disappointed)
The President of the Indian boxing federation, Abhishek Matoria, also spoke to NDTV and was shocked to hear the decision.
He said,"I am completely shocked to hear the news. We had provided all the information that the international body needed but still they have gone on to suspend us."
When asked if this was a fall out of the IOA suspension, he said, "This is a situation for entire sports in India and not just boxing. This is a very big demotivation of all the boxers in India and without any reason."
The president also said that there is probably some connection between the IOC and the AIBA.
NDTV also asked if there were some notices given to the Indian boxing federation, to which he replied, "We were given notices from AIBA regarding elections but had replied promptly. We had also sent our delegates to Armenia in the youth championship to meet AIBA representatives."
He also lamented the fact that the International body did not get back to the Indian boxing federation and it was the sad part.
Matoria also said that he will talk to the former president, Chautala who himself is in trouble regarding the IOA, on the matter.
He said, "He (Chautala) is in trouble for the moment but since he has been the Boxing federation president for 12 years, I will speak to him regarding the connection between IOA and boxing. We will find a solution."
Matoria ended saying that he had also met the sports minister Jitendra Singh and the sports secretary PK Deb but did not get any notices from them too despite clearing their queries. He also assured that the players will not suffer due to this mess and that the federation will ensure that boxing goes on.
With the Asian Boxing Championship and the World Championships in Kazakhstan scheduled next year, the provisional ban now makes the future of Indian boxers participating in these events under the country's flag uncertain.
The world body took the decision at a meeting at Lausanne, in Switzerland two days after the IOC suspended the IOA, of whom Chautala, former president of IABF, was elected as president on Wednesday.
(With PTI inputs)