Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist boxer Lovlina Borgohain alleged mental harassment ahead of the Birmingham Commonwealth Games set to begin on July 28 regarding the situation with her personal coach. The Sports Ministry in response urged the Indian Olympic Association to resolve the matter.
Borgohain, who is India’s 70kg entry for in the women’s boxing contingent for Birmingham, had ended her campaign at the World Championships after losing to Cindy Ngamba of Fair Chance Team by a 4-1 split verdict in the round-of-16 bout, in May. The 24-year-old pugilist alleged that it was because of the same reason that she returned with a disappointing performance in Istanbul.
“It is with a lot of sadness that I say that I have been experiencing a lot of harassment,” Lovlina said in a post on Twitter on Monday.
“Every time my coaches who helped me win a medal at the Olympics have been removed from my training process and competition. One of these coaches, Sandhya Gurung ji, is also a Dronacharya awardee. Despite thousands of requests, they are always allowed late for my training. This hampers my training and puts me through a lot of hardships and mental harassment.”
The Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist added: “Now, my coach Sandhya Gurung ji is out of the Commonwealth Village as she is not allowed entry and my training has been brought to a halt eight days before the Games. My other coach has been sent back to India, despite me requesting multiple times. I don’t understand how I am supposed to focus on my game. This situation ruined my performance during the last World Championships also. I don’t want this politics to ruin my Commonwealth Games too. I hope I can break through this politics and win a medal for my country.”
The Boxing Federation of India Secretary Hemanta Kalita told Sportstar, “The Indian Olympic Association allotted 25 per cent officials on the total number of athletes. We have 12 athletes, so we got four officials. After that we made a request and got another four. This includes coaches, a doctor, physio etc. We put Sandhya Gurung’s name in the long list, we requested for her inclusion, the SAI also sanctioned her name, but the IOA is not doing it.”
Kalita was quoted as saying by PTI that the matter is in “IOA’s hand but [accred] will come by today or tomorrow.”
In a statement, the ministry said, “We have urged the Indian Olympic Association to immediately arrange for the accreditation of the coach of Lovlina Borgohain.”
Update: Here’s the BFI statement.
Only 33% of the playing contingent is allowed as Support Staff which in BFI’s case for the 12 boxers (8 men and 4 women) stands to be 4 support staff, (including coaches) who were to travel with the Team to Burmingham.
The requirements of boxing with respect to coaches and support staff is a little different as there are multiple bouts, which could be one after another. The IOA understood BFI’s point of view and therefore, extended help with maximum possible additional support staff. With IOA’s help the number of support staff went up from 4 to 8 for the entire contingent of 12 boxers.
Boxing Federation of India ensured that Sandhya Gurung was at the training camp in Ireland. BFI is closely working with IOA so that Sandhya Gurung could be a part of the team in Birmingham. In the meanwhile, delegate transport and accommodation at ETO’s hotel has been already provided to her.
Additionally, a statement released by the Indian Olympics Association on the matter on Monday evening read: “The matter of Ms. Gurung’s accreditation was a late request received following the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee’s Delegation Registration Meeting with the national delegations. However, given the IOA places the convenience of the Indian athletes at the highest level, a special request has been made to the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Organising Committee on a priority basis to provide Ms. Gurung with the requisite accreditation.”
After the IOA’s official statement, BFI confirmed on Tuesday that coach Sandhya Gurung received her accreditation as well as a room at the Games Village in Birmingham.