Gold for Pinki Rana Jangra at Indian
Elite Women's National Finals in Raipur City
by Michael O'Neill
October 17, 2014
(OCT 17) What a difference a few
months’ make! Last time I saw Pinki Jangra in action was
semi-finals day at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in August
when a very dejected Pinki lost out to Northern Ireland’s
Michaela Walsh in their bout to decide who would take on Nicola
Adams for the Commonwealth crown.
Today though Pinki can look
forward with some optimism to being part of the Indian team for
the forthcoming AIBA World Elite Championships in Korea’s Jeju
Island in November as last night she annexed 1st Monnet Steele
Indian Senior Elite National Championships title at
light-flyweight- part of the Boxing India selection process for
There remains though the possibility that the B.I selection
committee could opt for 5 time world champion, MC Mary Kom who
did not - due to a shoulder injury - take part in this week’s
Nationals. Should MC Mary Kom NOT be selected then inevitably
there will be yet another huge debate in the Indian media as
there was when Pinki Rana was chosen for the Commonwealths.
Of course there are other possibilities – Pinki could arguably
be slotted in another weight – the 10 weights in Jeju according
to AIBA website being: 45 – 48kg, 51kg, 54kg, 57Kg, 60kg, 64kg,
69kg, 75kg, 81kg, and 81+kg.
It would be highly controversial if indeed the newly formed AIBA
affiliated member ‘Boxing India’ overlook Mary Kom, even more so
since she took India’s only (women’s) Gold medal at the recent
Asian Games in Incheon.
On last night’s finals, the highly respected “Times of India” (T.O.I)
had this to say: “Months of hard work finally paid off for Pinki
Rani as she clinched gold at the Senior National women's Boxing
Championships title in Raipur on Thursday.
Maintaining domination throughout, the boxer from Railway Sports
Promotion Board (RSPB) got the better of Mizoram's Rebecca
Lalinmawil 3-0 to add a National title to her kitty. And, riding
on Pinki's performance, RSPB won the championship with 6 gold
medals and 52 points, followed by Haryana.
Meanwhile another well informed Indian media outlet
“SportsKeeda” highlighted the fact that “Sarjubala Devi tasted
glory for the second time in the Senior National Women’s Boxing
Championship, clinching the gold in the light flyweight category
(45-48 kg), out boxing Haryana’s Sweety in the Boxing India-organised
The 2011 World Youth Boxing Championship gold medallist, who had
won the 2011 Senior Nationals in Bhopal, was head over shoulders
over her Haryana opponent, unleashing punches consistently to
carry the day.
2011 World Youth Boxing Championship bronze medallist Pwilao
Basumatary representing Railway Sports Promotion Board won the
featherweight crown (54-57kg) prevailing over Preeti Beniwal of
All India Police (AIP). Railway’s Priyanka Choudhary pipped
Tripura’s Priya to corner glory in the light weight category
Pavitra of Railways Sports Promotion Board put it across 2011
World Youth Boxing Championship gold medallist Minu Basumatary
of Assam in the light welterweight category (60-64 kg).
The tournament saw some ‘south’ flavour with Meena Kumari
winning the bantamweight crown (51-54kg) and later emerging as
the most promising boxer as well. The welter weight (64-69 kg)
and middle weight categories (69-75) were won by Railways’ Neetu
and Monica Saun. Haryana’s Saweety won the light heavy weight
crown (75-81 kg), while Kavita of All India Police (AIP) bagged
the super heavyweight (+81 kg) crown”.
So that is how Finals night at the at the Balbir Juneja Indoor
Stadium in Raipur, Chhattisgarh panned out and now it is down to
Boxing India to sit down, consider what they saw in Raipur and
add in others perhaps especially MC Mary Kom and L.Sarita Devi
before naming that squad for Jeju Island November 12th/24th – or
is it that simple?
Remember in the background there is still the investigation into
the events at the recent Asian Games to be finalised. Remember
that the AIBA’s Supervisor in Incheon filed a report on Devi’s
semi-final loss to Korea’s Jina Park saying: “The whole incident
looked like a well-planned scenario by her and her team, and it
is regretful to watch a boxer refuse the medal regardless of
what happened in the competition. In this regard, as the
Technical Delegate, I had to request OCA to review this
incident, so any boxer or athlete in other sports will not
follow in her footsteps by respecting the spirit of fair-play
and sportsmanship of the Olympic Movement”. (Note the AIBA’s
wording – “her and her team” (that could include team coaches
and possibly other boxers).
Next day there was the refusal of Sarita Devi to accept her
bronze medal on the podium – an occurrence which prompted the
AIBA to issue yet another Press Release denouncing not only the
boxer but also those who protested with her including
“As the Korean boxer returned it back to the Indian Boxer, she
then left the medal at the podium and left the Ceremony.
Then, after the Organizing Committee member of staff followed
her and insisted she take the medal, she asked him to leave it
in the protest room. When the Organizing Committee staff walked
towards the protest room, all Indian journalists followed the
staff and some of them shouted “Koreans are stealing their
AIBA has already proceeded its Disciplinary Action Process to
review this case, and the decision will be made immediately
after the Asian Games.”
Will the AIBA now conclude their investigation before the AIBA
World’s at the Halla Gymnasium in Incheon and if they do will
the Executive Committee announce their conclusion and possibly
impose sanctions, before or after Jeju?
Times are complicated indeed not only in Indian boxing circles
but also in AIBA-land what with a newly formed affiliate “Boxing
India” having to appoint referees and judges at the last minute
for the Nationals and the AIBA’s own investigations, even more
so when one takes into account the communications to the AIBA
from countries like Philippines and Mongolia and notably from
the Olympic Association of Asia (AOA) regarding alleged bias by
judges in Incheon.
Though I do not believe there was ‘bias’ by the judges in
Incheon (boxing always has had these type of allegations,
usually from the losers, be they Amateur or Pro I do believe
that the AIBA did not allow enough time for all of the AIBA
technical rules to filter through to its own members and they to
their clubs and boxers and this is hopefully something that the
AIBA will take on board in future.
Indeed Boxing India told the T.O.I that ‘"Boxing India is
saddened by the developments involving Ms Sarita Devi and the
emotional outburst of the celebrated pugilist. We sincerely hope
the matter will be expeditiously resolved by the IOA with AIBA
in the best interest of the boxer, the sport and the country”
She is now facing disciplinary action from the AIBA and B.I
President Sandeep Jajodia said the matter needs to be resolved
promptly."We are hopeful that the involved authorities, the IOA
and the International Boxing Association (AIBA) shall
judiciously resolve the matter, without compromising with the
sports or sportspersons", said Jajodia.
Sarita Devi was just one of a number of boxers and/or coaches
who questioned the judging at the Asian Games and to add to
AIBA’s woes, the OCA, Olympic Council of Asia’s President Sheikh
Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah said the OCA would carry out an
investigation after receiving a number of formal complaints.
“We have received letters from five National Olympic Committees
about boxing and we will discuss this with the international
federation," he said.
In addition many neutral boxing experts feel that some of the
judges clearly do need more guidance, especially those who have
been recruited only in recent times. Some of the unusual scores
in Incheon may well be due to inexperience in officiating
outside of their home countries, particularly in MAJOR
International events, and thus perhaps fearing hostility from
local fans tend to be more strict against non-nationals. That
can easily result in being perceived as “bias” in favour of
‘host nation’ boxers.
That most neutrals believe that Sarita Devi was victim of such a
decision in Incheon is one good reason why the AIBA should not
just concentrate on the disciplinary issues against Devi but
also look independently on the “R+J” issues raised and if
necessary take some officials out of the limelight until
re-training and ‘guidance’ has been given.
After all it is not only the Indians who felt hard done by in