CHENNAI: Keeping in mind the tweaked weight categories and alteration in qualification criteria for 2020 Olympics, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) is intent on charting out a clear course for the pugilists and everyone associated with the sport in order to make them battle-ready for the marquee event. This was necessitated after International Olympic Association’s (IOC) decision to host boxing on its own in the Olympics.
Having stripped Olympic status from troubled body International Boxing Association (AIBA), IOC has taken matters in their own hands and had finalised on the categories in March. BFI secretary general Jay Kowli said that he had a meeting with national coaches including Ali Qamar and other support staff recently and have requested them to produce a blueprint on how they will go forward with the preparations.
The trainers/coaches have been asked to prepare day-to-day break-up of the training sessions, how the boxers perform. Also, the coaches will note down what exposure trips they want and what they are looking to gain out of those said trips. “Who’s going to wear and how the exposure tours are to be planned. It has to be held properly and everything should be circulated to everyone related to boxing. Every boxer in the country should know what is the federation’s plans,” Kowli said.
During selections, there have been instances in the past where pugilists have been left disappointed after being ignored for various reasons. Kowli noted that this can be avoided with the fresh plan in place. The selection process will be clearly outlined with BFI’s new plan in place. Supposing there are six to eight boxers in each weight category, that will be pruned down to four.
The process involved in that will be clear for the pugilists. The best four will train/spar together and from there on, the BFI will finalise the best two. “The idea is to make it transparent for everyone. The boxers will know how we are handling the entire process. We don’t want any interference,” he said.
BFI feels, with the plan in place, the dates for the selection trials will be there for everyone to see. Also, the boxers will know how they are grouped and the eligibility criteria. BFI believes with everything in the open, the pugilists won’t have to worry about favouritism. Based on their performances, their path will be clear. They can train without any distractions.
This plan could open doors for boxers who have been on the rocks in recent times. With day-to-day evaluation and open trials, no boxer can take things for granted. A motivated environment could inject healthy competition, something that BFI is hoping for. “Let’s say the top-ranked boxer gets injured, we need a back-up plan. We need to prepare for such situations,” Kowli noted.“We are not a small country like Mauritius. In many categories, we have boxers who’ve medalled at the Worlds. So, it’s important these proven talents are kept battle-ready.”