CHENNAI: The 2020 Tokyo Games was a big reality check for Indian boxing. Even though the country had a record number of participants (9), only one was good enough to win a medal. The euphoria of record participation gave way to disappointment. Lovlina Borgohain's bronze managed to heal the fissured wound of failure after a few big names faltered. Even though the performance was not as dire as shooting, a sport where many were tipped to shine, the overall standard was not up to the mark, especially in the men's section.
With less than three weeks left for the men's World Championships (October 24 -November 6) to commence, the dates for the national camp is yet to be decided. The coaches and players are jittery and hoped it would begin soon.
The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) is expected to bring in some changes to the system. If officials are to be believed, the BFI has reviewed its Olympic performance and accordingly, sent a proposal to the Sports Authority of India for approval that they say would usher in 'refreshing changes'.
The coaching system is likely to see some changes as well, especially in the women's section. High performance director Raffaele Bergamasco, who was visibly miffed at being given a short contract, has already left the country. He sought clarification but could not get any from either BFI or SAI. Chief national coach Mohammed Ali Qamar's position, too, seems a little shaky. Some find this surprising because the country had won the aforementioned medal in the women's section.
On the men's side, high performance director Santiago Nieva has accepted the short contract and is ready to train the boxers, who have been selected for the World Championships. Though the marquee event is starting on October 24, the national camp is yet to be sanctioned. CA Kuttappa, men's chief national coach, is also in the dark about his immediate future. But there are indications from top BFI officials that he is expected to continue.
The BFI is also trying to bring in additional support staff including physios and trainers but the emphasis would be given to the sub-junior and junior programme. According to an official, even the coaching system would see major overhaul.
The BFI and the SAI are expected to advertise for four foreign high performance directors for men and women in both senior and junior sections. To make communication easier, the BFI wants all the interested candidates to be able to communicate in English. According to an official, communicating with boxers is crucial. Even during the last Olympic cycle, boxers had raised this issue with the officials on occasions. Apparently, all the high performance directors currently with the BFI are eligible to apply.
The performance of boxers under Target Olympic Podium Scheme will also be evaluated. According to a top official, the TOPS list would be revised after proper evaluation.