HC Seeks BFI Stand on Past Performance of Boxers Selected for Women’s World Championships

The Delhi High Court on Monday sought the stand of the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) on the past performance of certain boxers selected for the upcoming Women’s World Boxing Championships.

The court was hearing a petition by three national champions Manju Rani, Shiksha Narwal and Poonam Poonia whose candidature have been rejected for the sporting event.

The championship is set to take place from March 15 to 31 in Delhi.

The counsel for the petitioners said during 2018-2022, their performance was better than some of those selected for the tournament who hardly won any medals.

Justice Prathiba M Singh, while observing that the court cannot get into the merit of selection, said the difference in the performance of some of the players was “quite stark” and granted time to the counsel for the BFI to seek instructions on the issue.

The petitioners’ counsel emphasised that the selection of players ought to happen on the basis of meritorious past performances and the petitioners should be selected.

The counsel for the BFI defended the process of selection and said the names of those selected have already been sent to the authorities concerned.

Pursuant to earlier directions, the counsel for BFI also placed before the court the evaluation sheet of the petitioners in relation to the selection process.

BFI has earlier submitted that winning a gold medal was one of the qualifying criteria and the players are evaluated at the national camp on the basis of the selection criteria for national camps and world championships 2023.

The petitioners had earlier told the court the players selected were those whom the petitioners had defeated at the national championships held in December 2022 in Bhopal.

Their plea said, “…the petitioners have requested the relevant authorities for considering their names for selection in women’s world championship, but they did not get any fruitful results.”

According to BFI, the new selection policy for the men’s and women’s World Championships and the Asian Games was followed to pick the national team and Manju (48 kg), Shiksha (54 kg) and Poonam (60kg) could not make it to the 12-member side.

According to the new policy, drafted in consultation with High Performance Director (HPD) Bernard Dunne, the boxers underwent an evaluation process for three weeks where they were judged on various parameters.

Nine of the 12 national champions were ranked one and qualified for the marquee event.

Commonwealth Games champion Nitu Ghangas (634), Preeti (623) and CWG bronze medallist Jaismine Lamboria (612), however, finished ahead of the petitioners — Manju (564), Shiksha (573) and Poonam (567) in the evaluation test and were ranked one.

Last week, the court had refused to grant any interim relief to the petitioner players and said, in the meantime, if a reserved category player is being maintained, the petitioners’ names should be considered for the purpose.

The matter will be heard next on March 14.

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