The International Boxing Federation (AIBA) has decided to allow Indian boxers to participate in competitions approved by it under its flag, reversing the world body's earlier decision to bar them in the aftermath of the country's ban by the IOC.
In a letter to the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation, the AIBA said that its Executive Committee has decided to allow participation of Indian boxers in international events despite the continuation of suspension of the IABF.
The AIBA, however, made it clear that no official will be allowed to accompany the boxers in any international competition.
“This letter is to inform you that despite the ongoing suspension of the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation, the AIBA EC Bureau took the decision on February 22, 2013 to exceptionally allow Indian boxers and coaches only (no official whatsoever permitted) to participate in AIBA Competitions (approved events) under the AIBA flag,” the AIBA said.
“This means that your National Federation may register boxers and coaches only to the ASBC Youth Boxing Championships due to take place from May 10-16, 2013 in Subic Bay, Philippines, and to future AIBA Competitions,” the letter, written by AIBA Executive Director Ho Kim, stated.
“Please note that you will be requested to provide a proof that the coaches registered are certified coaches,” it further stated.
The development comes after India's IOC member Randhir Singh personally spoke to AIBA President Ching-Kuo Wu and followed it up with a letter, stating that the Indian boxers should not suffer due to IOC's ban on India.
In India's sporting history, no athlete from the country has ever participated in any competition under the flag of an international entity.
The AIBA chief also wrote a letter to Randhir informing him of the world body's decision to allow Indian boxers' participation in international events under the AIBA flag.
“I am pleased to inform you that the AIBA EC Bureau took the decision on February 22, 2013 to allow Indian boxers and coaches only (thus no officials) to participate to the ABSC Youth Boxing Championships due to take place from May 10-16, 2013 in Subic Bay, Philippines, and to future AIBA Competitions,” Wu wrote in the letter.
“However, the team will of course have to compete under the AIBA flag due to the ongoing suspension of the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation. The AIBA HQs Office will duly inform the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation and ASBC so that registration procedures may proceed.”
IABF vice-president Brig P K Muralidharan Raja welcomed the decision of the AIBA and said it will be a big relief to the country's boxers.
“This is the best thing to have happened to us in the last few weeks. At least the boxers will not suffer because of the ongoing scenario,” Muralidharan Raja said.
The AIBA suspended the IABF in December last year for “possible manipulation” of its elections, in the wake of a wider Olympic ban imposed on India by International Olympic Committee.
The AIBA had barred the Indian boxers from participation in international competitions.