Indian pugilists on Thursday gave a mixed reaction to the International Olympic Committee’s recommendation to bar AIBA, the world governing body of amateur boxing, from organising the event at the Tokyo Olympics next year.
The IOC’s Executive Board recommended on Wednesday that AIBA be stripped of its right to organise the event at Tokyo 2020, but said the sport should still feature at the Games.
The recommendation, which followed investigations into alleged serious mismanagement at the crisis-riddled AIBA — is almost certain to be rubber-stamped by the full IOC membership at its Congress in Lausanne next month.
The move would mean that the upcoming World Championships in September-October in Russia may not serve as the Olympic qualification event.
World Championship bronze medallist Shiva Thapa reacted with “shock and surprise”, while reigning Asian Games champion Amit Panghal welcomed the move, saying it would give him more preparation time to assess the international boxers.
“I’m very surprised and shocked at the same time. I think it’s really shocking for the whole boxing fraternity,” Shiva said on the sidelines of the India Open which was organised as a preparatory tournament for the World Championships.
“We are all aiming to qualify for the Olympics from the World Championships, and were working really hard for it. Now we will have to wait and watch,” the 25-year-old said.
“However, we are prepared to face any scenario. The prime target is to qualify for Tokyo Olympics. It does not change plans. I’m looking forward to my upcoming tournaments now. World Championships will obviously be there, I hope the qualifiers also take place.”
Shiva is slated to move up to 63kg weight category to fall in line with Olympic qualification.
But the fresh development means that IOC will only finalise the weight categories towards the end of June.
“Now, I don’t know what weight categories they will come up with. We will have to wait and then decide,” Shiva added.
Panghal said Indian boxers would have secured at least four-five Olympic berths at the World Championships but he sees a silver-lining in the development.
“We have been performing really well starting with the Asian Championships this year. We would have secured at least four to five quota places,” Panghal said.
“But now, we will get more competitions and time. It will give chance to assess more and more boxers,” said Panghal, who has moved up to 52kg weight category.
Asked whether the World Championships will lose its sheen, he said: “Every competition has its significance. World Championships will give us an opportunity to assess top International boxers.
“I only had a couple of bouts in this weight category. It’s an advantage for us. It will make us more experience, confidence will be boosted if we get medals in the World Championships,” Panghal, who won the Asian Games gold in 49kg category, said.
“Earning quota places will become easier now as we will see all the top boxers at the World Championships.