Olympic champion shooter Abhinav Bindra on Sunday appealed to AIBA to help clean up the administrative mess in Indian boxing and pave the way for the country’s pugilists to participate at the Rio Olympics under the national flag. Ever willing to boost the confidence of fellow athletes, Bindra visited the Indian boxing squad competing at the AIBA World Olympic Qualification tournament here and interacted with them individually.

Following the visit, Bindra wrote on his twitter handle, “Went to cheer for our boxers at their Olympic qualifying comp in Baku. They are all champions! Appeal to the powers that be to fix matters with federation immediately so that these champions get what they so truly deserve.”

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Bindra posted a few photographs with the boxers, including Shiva Thapa, Gaurav Bidhuri and Sumit Sangwan.

Wonderful gesture

The 33-year-old Bindra, who remains India’s only individual Olympic gold medallist, is here to participate in the ISSF (International Shooting Sport Federation) World Cup. Indian national boxing coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu called it a wonderful gesture on the part of the Beijing Games gold medallist.

“He (Bindra) saw all the bouts and was there for the whole session. He personally came over to congratulate Sumit (Sangwan) after he won his bout and spent time with all the squad members and spoke to them individually,” Sandhu told PTI from Baku. The veteran coach added, “He reached Baku only yesterday and immediately got in touch with us. That he came and sat for the entire session, it was a wonderful gesture on his part.

“In fact even before he had left for Baku he had told us that he would come over and spent time with the boxers.”

Sandhu recently rued the administrative logjam that has pulled the sport down in the country. The Indian boxing administration has been in a mess since 2012 when the federation was first suspended due to manipulation in elections. A new body, Boxing India, which took shape in 2014 was also terminated last year after a rebellion by the state units.

The sport is currently being administered by an ad-hoc committee of the International Boxing Association (AIBA).

As a result, Indian boxers have been forced to compete under the AIBA flag in major events, denying them the right to fight under their own country’s name.