Thai boxers at risk of missing Olympics

Thailand’s boxers could miss next year’s Olympics because of a

dispute over control of the country’s amateur boxing body.

The International Boxing Association (AIBA) has expelled the

Amateur Boxing Association of Thailand for failing to call fresh

elections by the end of June. AIBA had demanded new elections,

having annulled the results of March’s poll when General Narin

Tabprasit was elected unopposed as the successor to General Taweep

Jantaroj as ABAT’s president.

Citing doubts over the conduct of that voting, AIBA responded by

banning Taweep from all boxing activities for two years, while

issuing Narin a one-year ban.

AIBA has called for other Thai boxing bodies to take over ABAT’s

role, and until the situation is resolved, no Thai boxers will be

able to take part in AIBA tournaments, including the Olympics.

Thai national team coach Kammanit Nareerak was quoted in the

Bangkok Post as saying the team was preparing to depart for the

President’s Cup in Indonesia when it was told of the ban, and the

boxers were sent home.

”We don’t know when they will return to training,” Kammanit

said. ”Nobody from the association informed us about the

punishment. We had to find it out on AIBA website.”

A new Thai governing body can be ratified, at the earliest, at

September’s world championships in Azerbaijan, allowing Thai boxers

to attempt to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London.

”I believe that our boxers still have a chance of gong to the

Olympics,” said Yuttasak Sasiprapha, president of the National

Olympic Committee of Thailand.