Guwahati: A day after India’s Olympic medalist and ace pugilist Lovlina Borgohain accused the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) of continuous harassment ahead of the 2022 Commonwealth Games (CWG), the Federation later said it has increased the support staff of the playing contingent of 12 boxers from four to eight.
Earlier on Monday, Borgohain through a tweet made allegations of ‘continuous harassment’ by the BFI after her coach Sandhya Gurung was denied entry to train her at the Games village in Birmingham as part of the 2022 CWG.
The 24-year-old boxer alleged that her coaching schedule has been disrupted because of the harassment her coaches are facing, as they are not being permitted to enter the premises where she is currently training.
In response to Lovlina’s claims, BFI’s secretary general Hemanta Kalita told Sportstar magazine on Monday that the federation tried to get accreditation for Lovlina’s coach Sandhya Gurung but wasn’t successful.
“The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) allotted 25 percent officials on the total number of athletes. We have 12 athletes, so we got four officials. After that, we made a request and got another four. This includes coaches, a doctor, physio, etc. We put Sandhya Gurung’s name in the long list, we requested for her inclusion, the SAI also sanctioned her name, but the IOA is not doing it,” Kalita had said.
Having faced severe backlash, however, an official statement issued by the BFI later on Monday claimed that 33 percent of the playing contingent was allowed as support staff.
In the BFI’s case for the 12 boxers, eight men and four women, this number stands at four support staff, including coaches, who were to travel with the team to Birmingham, where the games are being held.
“The requirements of boxing with respect to coaches and support staff are a little different as there are multiple bouts, which could be one after another. The IOA understood BFI’s point of view and therefore extended help with maximum possible additional support staff. With IOA’s help, the number of support staff went up from 4 to 8 for the entire contingent of 12 boxers,” the release stated.
“BFI ensured that Sandhya Gurung was at the training camp in Ireland. BFI is closely working with IOA so that Sandhya Gurung could be a part of the team in Birmingham. In the meanwhile, delegate transport and accommodation at ETO’s hotel has been already provided to her,” the release added.
Speaking exclusively to EastMojo from Birmingham, Sandhya Gurung had said, “What Lovlina has raised is understandable. I have valid accreditation as a coach. Hence, I should not be stopped. I am not being allowed to go and stay with the players. We cannot meet the players as I don’t have accreditation for that yet.”
The trouble, it turned out, was only with Sandhya Gurung’s accreditation, validating Borgohain’s claims of harassment by the BFI.
“For now the error is only with me, there are 3 coaches for the men’s team and there are two others for women apart from me. I am here for the women’s team. Among the three of us, I am the only one denied as I am without an accreditation card,” Gurung had said.
Sandhya claimed that Lovlina was angry because she couldn’t train in the morning on Monday, just 4 days before the tournament.
“We were in Ireland and we reached here last night. The training was ongoing in Ireland for four days. We are to train here before the Games begin on July 29. We were to train in the morning but that didn’t happen, hence she has reacted,” said Gurung.
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