The selection of the Indian team for the World Boxing Championships has run into a controversy with three pugilists, including Arjuna awardee Dinesh Kumar, threatening to take the panel to court even as Olympian Akhil Kumar vowed to sue one of them for dragging his name into the furore.
Dinesh (91kg), Dilbag Singh (69kg) and Praveen Kumar (+91kg) have alleged that the coaches and the selection committee ignored them, despite their "good performance" in the trial bouts which concluded on Wednesday.
Asian Games silver-medallist Manpreet Singh (91kg), Asian Championships silver-medallist Mandeep Jangra and reigning national champion Satish (+91kg) were the boxers who were picked ahead of them for the October 11 to 27 World Championships in Kazakhstan.
The three dissenting boxers were beaten in exciting open trial bouts yesterday in front of a packed hall of fellow boxers and a selection panel which included veterans such as Mehtab Singh and Padam Bahadur Mal besides Indian Boxing Federation Secretary General Rajesh Bhandari.
"We will take the selection committee to the court for this unfair decision," Dinesh said at a press conference.
An 11-time national champion and former Commonwealth champion Dilbag went to the extent of saying that Olympian Arjuna awardee Akhil Kumar, who has mentored Mandeep, was behind his name being struck off.
"The coaches and the selection committee are compromised. They have been bribed. Akhil is behind this because I had won the bout but I have been unfairly treated because I do not appease the coaches," a furious Dilbag alleged.
"I am being unfairly targetted since 2009. I just want the trial results to be made public," he said.
Akhil, in turn, said he would take Dilbag to court for defamation.
"I will file a case against him for defaming me. My integrity has been questioned and I would not take it lying down," said Akhil, a former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist and two-time Olympian.
Indian Boxing Federation Secretary General Rajesh Bhandari said the allegations made by the boxers are unfortunate.
"They are being immature because the trials happened in front of everybody. Everybody could see who won and who lost. There is absolutely nothing to hide. But still we would hear them out and try to address their grievances," he said.
"But dragging a fellow boxer into this is not fair because he also has a reputation," he added referring to Akhil.
Infuriated by the allegations, national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu said he is hoping for better sense to prevail on the boxers.
"They have gone for several events with the same coaches against whom they are making these allegations. Disappointment is okay but to question the integrity of people like this is totally uncalled for," he said.
Image: Dinesh Kumar
Photograph: Lee Jae-Won/Reuters