The Haryana government has finally permitted Olympian boxer Vijender Singh to train and participate in professional boxing events abroad. The boxer left for England last week for training with London-based Queensberry Promotions. He is likely to fight his first professional bout in October.
Vijender, serving as DSP in Haryana Police under sports quota, had submitted an application seeking one-year extraordinary leave from the Haryana DGP on July 3. With no response from him, he had approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
During the last hearing in the case on August 28, the High Court had made it clear that if Vijender wanted to go to London, he can go on his own. But the court cannot allow him unless the state government’s reply does not come in the case. The Haryana government had failed to present its view on the matter on the day.
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The case is now listed for hearing on Monday (September 7).
Vijender’s advocate Puneet Bali told The Indian Express: “Yes, he has gone to England for training. The High Court bench had told him that he can go abroad to train and we will put forward his appeal before the court on Monday.”
Confirming the government’s decision, Sanjeev Kaushal, Principal Secretary to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, said, “The Chief Minister has permitted Vijender to proceed on leave to participate in boxing events. Rules will be redrafted by the sports department.”
Kaushal informed that the Chief Minister is of the view that sportspersons like Vijender should not be treated on par with other government officers for the purpose of leave.
“For five years in the beginning, they should be allowed any kind of leave to participate in sports events anywhere in the world for the country. After five years, a committee headed by the administrative secretary should be constituted which would analyse whether they (sportspersons) are still performing at the same level. Otherwise, they can be reverted to the position of same level other officers for normal duties,” said Kaushal.
The IAS officer added that directions have been passed to amend the sports rules and till the rules are amended, Vijender has been permitted to proceed on leave.
Vijender had landed in trouble when the Punjab and Haryana High Court had in July taken suo motu notice of the news items highlighting that he had been misleading the state government by saying that he had not signed the contract with UK-based Queensberry Promotions. Whereas he had already signed the contract without taking prior permission from his parent department, it said.
However, later Vijender filed a petition in the High Court and clarified to court that he had “not entered into any contract with Queensberry Promotions Ltd. till now” as was being alleged.
Vijender, who has been bestowed with Arjuna Award (2007), Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award (2009) and Padma Shri (2010), mentioned in his petition that the state government was not deciding on his leave application.
He had further submitted that he is not the first employee of Haryana Police, who has been appointed on the basis of his achievements in the field of sports and is bound to play in a professional league but there are over a dozen such players.
He had named kabaddi players Sonu Narwal, Anup Kumar, Samrjeet and Jasmer Gulia; tennis player Sanam Singh; hockey players Sardar Singh and Sandeep Singh; boxers Akhil Kumar and Jitender Kumar; cricketer Joginder Sharma; and wrestlers Geeta Phogat, Babita Phogat and Yogeshwar Dutt.