New Delhi: Racing against time to escape the International Boxing Association's (AIBA) wrath, India's bickering administrators seem to have struck a conciliatory note by agreeing to christen the proposed new national body as the Boxing Federation of India.
"Responding to the need of the hour of having a duly elected federation to facilitate our boxers, a whopping 33 out of 36 Indian states/UTs have applied to Boxing Federation of India for membership and for the journey ahead to get India back in the international arena," AIBA-appointed ad hoc committee currently administering the sport said.
India has time till 14 May to put together a new federation, failing which the AIBA has threatened to bar the country's boxers from the Rio Olympic Games in August. Only one Indian boxer — Shiva Thapa (56kg) — has qualified for Rio Olympics so far with two more qualifying events — one each for men and women — still to go.
Faced with a tough-posturing AIBA, the Indian administrators held a meeting with Sports Authority of India (SAI) Director Injeti Srinivas in the capital on 7 April. After much deliberation, it was decided to hold a stakeholders' meet on 16 April in Kolkata where the date of the fresh elections is to be announced.
All state units were asked to apply afresh for the new federation and so far 33 of 36 members have applied for affiliation with the proposed BFI.
"Things are looking good. Let's see how it goes from here. The meeting in Kolkata should lead to something concrete and the federation formation should go ahead smoothly," ad-hoc committee chairman Kishen Narsi told PTI.
"The AIBA is in the loop about the developments here and they are keeping a close watch," he added.
Indian boxing has been in administrative turmoil since 2012 when the erstwhile Indian Amateur Boxing Federation was terminated for manipulation in elections.
The body that took shape after that — Boxing India in 2014 — also could not run the show and was dissolved by AIBA following a revolt by the state units.
The continued tug of war between the administrators has jeopardised the sport to such an extent that Indian boxers have been starved of international exposure due to the AIBA-enforced suspension, which has severely affected their overall performance.
To put the situation in perspective, a record seven men and one woman boxer had qualified for the Olympics in 2012, while only one has so far made the cut for Rio.
Add to this, Indian boxers have been forced to compete under the AIBA flag instead of the tri-colour because of the ongoing situation.