Sports Ministry intervenes to help boxer Lovlina

Sports Ministry asks IOA to allow Lovlina’s coach into CWG Village: Sources

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has urged the Indian Olympic Association that accreditation be given to Lovlina Borgohain’s personal coach, Sandhya Gurung, so that the boxer can train as per her requirement, ANI sources said.

Lovlina on Monday, accused authorities of mental harassment, alleging that one of her coaches has been refused entry to the Commonwealth Games village in Birmingham while the other one has been sent back to India.

Lovlina took to social media to share details of the alleged injustice, saying it has heavily impacted her training for the Commonwealth Games 2022.

Last week, the name of Sandhya Gurung was included in the final CWG contingent list on the basis of a special recommendation made by the Sports Authority of India to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in view of the requirement.

In the National Camps held in the SAI’s Indira Gandhi Stadium in March, the names of Gurung and Lovlina’s strength and conditioning coaches were not included by the Boxing Federation of India, which is responsible for recommending the names of athletes, coaches and support staff for National Camps in boxing.

However, acting on a personal request made by Lovlina to SAI in the last week of March, SAI intervened and spoke to the federation to include Gurung and her Strength and Conditioning expert in the camp. Both of them consequently joined the camp on April 4, 2022.

The BFI issued a statement that as per rules only 33 percent (1/3rd) of the playing contingent is allowed as support staff. The Indian boxing contingent has 12 playing members (8 men and 4 women) and as per rules, the number of support staff will be four, which includes travelling coaches.

The BFI further stated that “requirement of boxing with respect to coaches and support staff is a little different as there are multiple bouts, which could be one after another.

“With IOA’s help, the number of support staff went up from 4 to 8 for the entire contingent of 12 boxers.”

Reacting to Lovlina’s allegations that she has to literally beg for inclusion of her coaches for training camps and exposure tours, the BFI said that it “ensured that Sandhya Gurung was at training camp in Ireland.”

Before any quadrennial games, all participating nations prepare a ‘Long List’ of support staff and officials but it doesn’t mean that everyone would make the final cut. Gurung’s name was apparently there in the long list.

IOA general secretary Rajeev Mehta put the ball on BFI’s court as to who all they wanted to include in the list of support staff.

“The ‘Long List’ was 1200 or so in total but only 215 are going for the Games. As per rules, they (BFI) are entitled four support staff but we still allowed them to have eight support staff on their request. It is respective federation’s decision to include whom they want. IOA can’t go out of their way,” Mehta told PTI

Last year at Tokyo Olympics 2020, Lovlina won a bronze medal in the women’s welterweight category (64-69 kg).

The Birmingham Commonwealth Games will begin on July 28 and will conclude on August 8.

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