By Rohit Mundayur
New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) The Boxing Federation of India is hopeful that boxers will be allowed to resume their training at the National Institute of Sport (NIS) in Patiala soon. After the BFI could not get approval from the authorities to start the camp on June 10, it had shifted pugilists who had qualified for the Olympics to JSW’s Inspire Institute of Sport in Bellary, Karnataka.
“They have listened to our issues and they will come back to us,” BFI Secretary General Jay Kowli told IANS on Wednesday when asked if the federation is planning to continue with the current arrangement or are looking to get the boxers back to NIS.
The point was among several that were raised during Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju’s meeting with presidents and secretary generals of 15 National Sports Federations on Tuesday.
“We apprised the minister of the latest situation at our end. The boxers are getting kind of restless. Not everyone has facilities like Mary Kom. She has equipment at her home and in her academy but not every boxer has access to those things,” said Kowli.
Men’s boxing High Performance Director Santiago Nieva is also yet to join the rest of the boxers in Bellary. “He is still stuck in Patiala and not allowed to train. So he is in a way sitting idle. Some other boxers have shifted to Bellary. We requested that a quick decision be taken on this situation.
“Unless the government gives a decision we can’t move. We want to comply with whatever the government says and not jeopardise the well being of any of our athletes.
“Many other countries such as the United Kingdom have already started their camps and so their boxers will be better prepared. Of course there are no competitions in sight but still it is quite frustrating.”
Kowli also said that Rijiju had floated a question of whether salaries of foreign coaches can be cut but the federations did not find that feasible. “As an Indian, I understand that we need money for better purposes. (But) we can’t lose a good talent. We didn’t say anything about it at the time but this is my personal opinion,” he said.
“Given a choice I would like to pay them in full. They have been staying away from their families in India. They must be more worried than all of us considering the situation also in the country. They chose to stay back despite all of it.”