Indian boxing contingent embroiled in jersey controversy at Rio

Indian boxing contingent embroiled in jersey controversy at Rio

Indian boxers have overnight been given new jerseys after International Olympic Committee (IOC) objected to the lack of the country’s name on the reverse side.

“There was no question of being banned. After all we played the first day with the jersey without India’s name on it,” said G.S. Sandhu, boxing head coach, here on Thursday.

The IOC objected that Indian players were going into the ring without the “IND” showing on their back. According to the norms, all players must sport the name of the country on their jersey.

Minister of Youth and Sports Vijay Goel on Wednesday evening took a meeting and asked officials to rectify the matter immediately. Names were then got written on the boxing vests locally.

“The issue is resolved now, but it’s an unnecessary controversy since we did have two bouts before today without the name,” Sandhu told IANS.

He said India had been under a ban from International Boxing Association (AIBA) and players from the country were not allowed to use the name in some of the matches earlier.

“We were under the impression that the same norms would be applicable. However, after the minister gave directions, the needful has been done,” Sandhu said.

India’s bantamweight (56 kg) boxer Shiva Thapa is scheduled to begin his Olympic campaign later on Thursday against Cuba’s Robeisy Ramirez.

The Indian Amateur Boxing Federation had been banned by the AIBA in 2012 for “possible manipulation” in its elections. Indian boxers have been given ad hoc permission to fight from time to time.

The federation had held elections since then but they were not accepted by the AIBA. New elections have been announced to be held after the Olympics.

On Wednesday evening, Sandhu was heard screaming at the officials responsible for the lack of jerseys with India’s name on it. This happened after the match which Manoj Kumar won against his Lithuanian counterpart Evaldas Petrauskas by a split decision in the Round of 32 of men’s Light Welterweight (64kg) category at Riocentre Pavilion.

Officials were in a tizzy on Wednesday evening with number of calls being exchanged on “possible ban” by the IOC of the Indian boxers.

“If there was a possibility of a ban, how is it that our boxers had two successful bouts before today,” Sandhu asked.

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