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Olympic Qualifiers: Here’re Gaurav Bidhuri’s concerns over selection policy

Highlights

  • Gaurav Bidhuri has raised questions over the selection procedure of the upcoming trials for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Qualifiers
  • "I have had enough of this unfair system." He said
  • A top boxing federation official has responded to Bidhuri’s allegation saying the decision of his exclusion was based on performance. 

Boxer Gaurav Bidhuri has raised questions over the selection procedure of the upcoming trials for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Qualifiers scheduled on 29 and 30 December in Bellary Karnataka. The World Championship Bronze-medal holder has also written to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, asking him to intervene.

“I have had enough of this unfair system. The medallists from this year’s world championships were given direct slots in the Olympic Qualifiers.” Bidhuri said in a letter to the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Rijiju. Amit Panghal (52kg) and Manish Kaushik (63kg) are the medallists exempted from trials. 

“But when I won the world bronze in 2017, I wasn’t even allowed to appear for Commonwealth and Asian Games trials,” Bidhuri said while demanding an explanation over his exclusion. 

“At that time I was told I hadn’t competed for enough, this time I am being told I haven’t competed against strong opponents. Can somebody explain what is the selection criteria here? It doesn’t make any sense,” he said.

The 26-year-old boxer is fighting to appear in the 57 kg category trials which will decide the Indian team which will fight in the Olympic qualifiers in February in China. All of the boxers were selected on a ranking-based system.

Boxers in the 57 kg category scheduled to appear in the trials are Kavinder Singh Bisht (World Championship quarterfinalist, Asian Silver medal holder), Mohammed Hussamuddin and Gaurav Solanki (Commonwealth Games medal holders) and Sachin Siwach (former world youth world champion). 

Selection based on performance

A top boxing federation official has responded to Bidhuri’s allegation saying the decision of his exclusion was based on performance. 

“The selection policy has been in the public domain for a long time. There is no discrimination as he has alleged. Don’t want to get into details but the rankings have been made purely on performance,” the official said.

However, Bidhuri claims that the “inconsistent” policy has left him perplexed over how to approach tournaments.

“Ok, I lost to Kavinder and Solanki in the league, but they were exceptionally close bouts. After 2-3 (scoreline) losses to them, I at least deserve a trial bout against them. I can’t be simply told that I am not good enough,” he said.

Not the 1st time for BFI

BFI has already been in another mixed up over trial selections earlier this year.

In November, BFI President said Mary Kom would be exempted from the trials because of her consistent results.

This, however, would have resulted in the exclusion of Nikhat Zareen, who also boxes in the 51-kg category. The decision prompted her to write to the Kiren Rijiju.

Rijiju made it clear that he could not intervene in the selection of athletes. If he did, it would be in the violation of the Olympic Charter.

The matter was later clarified by the high-performance director for Boxing in India Santiago Nieva. He said that all boxers would have to participate in the trials. 

Manan Dharamshi
I usually describe myself with three 'F's, i.e, Food, Football and Films. Born and Brought up in Bangalore since the mid-1990s, I have always had a huge interest in playing football, cricket and watching other sports. People who know me always tell I bleed football. Sports, and Football, in particular, has helped me through hard times and helped me to shape my view on the world. And that is one of the reasons why I want to serve as a Sports Journalist.

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