NEW DELHI,CHANDER SHEKHAR LUTHRA : Fixing in boxing is not new. In fact, during the Incheon Asian Games in 2014, the entire Indian sports fraternity got behind Sarita Devi when the International Boxing Association (AIBA)-appointed referees allegedly “fixed” a bout for a local South Korean pugilist.
But hardly anyone raises a voice when similar things take place in our country. Not long ago, Haryana boxer Pinki Jangra cried foul when she was allegedly “defeated” in that famous trial bout in Patiala to allow five-time world champion MC Mary Kom to go to Incheon. Kom eventually added a gold to her kitty.
This time, Pinki’s case is even more curious. Having chosen two North-East cities, Guwahati and Shillong, to host the South Asian Games (SAG) next month, the sports ministry wanted Mary Kom and Sarita Devi to be given automatic qualification for the Games.
But the Boxing India (BI) ad hoc committee, appointed by AIBA, stuck to its rules that “only boxers who win their trial bouts would be sent to the Games”.
So, all state federations were called for trials to shortlist pugilists for the test event for the SAG, to be held in Shillong from February 19-22. The Railways also conducted its trials at the capital’s Karnail Singh Stadium on January 14. Pinki, being Railways’ top pugilist, reportedly qualified for the test event by defeating her teammate Sarju Bala 3-2. For some “unknown” reasons, the result of the bout was not announced by the organisers.
But dna was told that the entire bout was recorded by Pinki’s sympathisers, given the history of mistrust. So, the Railways Sports Promotion Board (RSPB) ordered a retrial on the very next day (Jan 15) citing the presence of two non-qualified judges out of the total five during the trials.
“This was bizarre because we all knew about the pressure put on Railways to not send Pinki to the test event in order to provide Mary Kom a safe passage to the SAG,” said a senior Railways official who was present during the trials.
And not many were surprised when Pinki was declared “the loser” 24 hours later by all the “qualified” five judges. Pinki again got the bout videographed and claims that she was a “clear winner” in the retrial bout too.
“I was surprised by the decision. I was eager to play in the SAG test event-cum-trial. Whosoever watched my bout told me later on that I was a clear winner,” Pinki reacted to dna’s query.
However, keeping in mind the rules that Railways’ (or any other institutional team) pugilists can still be allowed to play from their respective states, RSPB secretary Rekha Yadav did request the ad hoc committee to allow Railways’ top losers to be given permission for the same. But the committee straightaway rejected the demand.
It was only after the trials were over that RSPB and Pinki found out that the ad hoc committee had allowed P Basumatary (60 kg category), who also hails from Assam, was given a similar permission to represent her state.
Yadav has now decided to take up the issue in front of the AIBA-appointed ad hoc committee.
For Pinki, this is certainly not a new thing. She has been battling with this bias ever since her rivalry with Mary Kom began in 2009. An unheralded Pinki, then just 19 years old, defeated Mary Kom in the quarter-finals of the Nationals.
Ever since, Pinki has been at the receiving end for the simple reason that many in the boxing federation wanted a more famous face to go to big tournaments.
The only exception, however, was the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 where she was given fair a treatment against her famous opponent.