The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) has opened a dialogue with countries boycotting the Women's World Championship to get them to reverse their decision. The marquee event is scheduled to be played on March 15 to March 16 in New Delhi.
Earlier, the International Boxing Association (IBA) lifted the ban on Russian and Belarusian boxers and allowed them to compete under their own flag. This decision is against the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) recommendations due to the ongoing war in Ukraine and has resulted in nine countries boycotting the tournament. These countries include the USA, Britain, Ireland, Canada, Sweden, Poland, Netherlands, Czech Republic, and Ukraine.
"I don't know why we should even think that it's disheartening because we have 74 countries that are coming in. Just a very few countries have pulled out," BFI executive director Arun Malik told PTI.
"We have countries like Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and China, they are the strongest nations of the world, and they are all coming.
"I don't think we have any reason to get disheartened. It's a very good response, the numbers are bigger than they were in Istanbul, and the countries are more."
The BFI, on its part, has initiated a dialogue with six of the boycotting nations with the hope that some of them will reverse their decision.
"We have written to six countries that have pulled out. They are open to talking to President Ajay Singh. We don't know at what level the decision has been taken by them if the national federation has taken it or if the decision is taken by the government.
"But the endeavour is there to get some of these countries if not all to participate," Malik added.
The national federation is also in talks with IBA. The recent events have put India in a difficult situation as a host nation.
"Even when we are interacting, some people have mentioned they would love to play in India, love their athletes to come to India and box here.
"The exposure the Indian boxers can offer, they will not get anywhere else. We have one of the strongest women's boxing team in India."