Fire-fighting to save boxing place in Paris 2024 after Parveen suspension

Olympic-bound boxer Parveen suspended for violation. (PC: SAI)

In the wake of news of a woman bower provisionally suspended, India’s sports officials are scrambling overtime to ensure that the country is able to field an extra challenger in the final Olympic qualifying competition to be held in Bangkok from May 24.

Parveen Hooda has been identified as the boxer placed on provisional suspension by the International Testing Agency (ITA), which is carrying out the International Olympic Committee’s anti-doping programme for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. The ITA has been running this programme for the International Boxing Association (IBA) since 2016.

It is being reported that Jasmine Lamboria, who lost in the 60kg quarterfinals in the world women’s boxing championships in 2022, has been asked to be ready to compete in the 57kg class in Bangkok. That is subject to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) accepting India’s request of being allowed to field an extra boxer in the final Olympic qualifier for Paris 2024. 

The ‘Whereabouts Failures’ by an athlete are any combination of three missed tests and/or filing failures, as defined in the International Standard for Results Management, within a 12-month period by an athlete in the Registered Testing Pool (RTP). Parveen is said to have had three filing failures between April 2022 and March 2023.

There could be a variety of reasons why athletes miss filing whereabouts on the ADAMS app. Some arbitration panels accept arguments that come across as based on facts and not an afterthought of the athlete or the athlete’s counsel. It remains to be seen what defence the Indian has presented before the ITA and the arbitration panel that ITA would have assigned for hearing her case.

Recently, the National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) shared two sanctions for whereabouts failures. The first was for distance runner G Lakshmanan, who pleaded that his daughter had taken seriously ill and he could not upload his whereabouts because of technical difficulties. The other case pertained to sprinter Akash Kumar Patel, who said he was unaware of how to file whereabouts information and accepted responsibility for his failure.

As the 2022 World Championships bronze medallist, Parveen – who now risks losing the Asian Games 57kg class bronze won in Hangzhou last year — cannot shy away from the responsibility of filing whereabouts or claiming to not know the consequences of non-compliance.

It can be said that she finds herself skating on thin ice and may end up missing her date with Paris 2024. Of course, the more sympathetic say Parveen is under stress, as a family member is battling a major disease, and she may have “skipped” seeing emails. All that will not be accepted though.

The sport of boxing finds itself in a unique position as far as the Olympic goes since the IOC does not recognise the IBA and has conducted the qualifying tournaments itself. It has laid down the process of qualification and not let IBA have any say. That makes it imperative for the Boxing Federation of India to route all its communication on the issue through the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), the National Olympic Committee.