Women’s World Boxing Championships: Delhi HC seeks BFI reply on Arundhati Choudhary’s plea against selection trial

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New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought a response from the Boxer Federation of India (BFI) on a petition by National champion Arundhati Choudhary challenging her exclusion from the upcoming Women’s World Boxing Championships in Turkey, observing that if athletes are dissatisfied, what will they do for the country.

The high court issued a notice to the BFI and the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in response to a petition filed by a 19-year-old boxer who claimed that Olympic bronze medalist Lovlina Borgohain was chosen without a trial.

Justice Rekha Palli allowed Choudhary, who is also the reigning young world champion, permission to bring Borgohain into the case, stating that the court cannot analyse the petitioner’s position or issue any ruling behind the petitioner’s back.

During the hearing, counsel Hrishikesh Baruah and Parth Goswami, who were representing the BFI, informed the court that Choudhary had already been registered for the tournament as a reserved boxer in the 70 kg category.

According to the counsel, there could only be one entry in each category, and if she is upset with the selection of Borgohain, she should have impleaded her as a party respondent.

Taking BFI’s comments into consideration, the court stated that it was not inclined to award any temporary relief in the case.

As a stopgap solution, Choudhary requested that the ministry and BFI refrain from taking any adverse action against her, such as refusing her participation in the World Women Boxing Championships 2021, which would be hosted in Istanbul, Turkey.

The international championships, which were planned to take place in Istanbul from December 4 to 18, have been postponed until March of next year owing to an increase of COVID-19 cases in Turkey.

During the hearing, the court remarked that most sports federations are using it as their own private club, which is quite regrettable, and requested that the ministry wake up and take action.

“The more I hear these federation matters, I get the feeling that till the time the player is not going to bow down to them, they will not hear the player. You are supposed to promote sports,” the judge said.

The court told advocate Apoorv Kurup, who represented the sports ministry, that the authorities should wake up because they give so much money to federations for sports development.

“If the sportspersons are disgruntled, what they are going to do for the country. The ministry should see to it. Be little more proactive. We can do much better in sports. My concern is that the sportspersons should not be disgruntled.

“They should not feel that they are better but are not elected for the event. I am not commenting on which one is better, Lovlina or Arundhati,” the judge said.

Choudhary claimed in her petition, filed through advocates Vijay Mishra and Sandeep Lamba, that given her excellent record and the fact that she won gold in the women’s national boxing championships held in Hissar in October this year, she should have been given preference over any other candidate in the upcoming championships in Turkey.

The case has been rescheduled for a hearing on November 22.

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