What is happening in Indian boxing? Somehow, things are not as streamlined as it used to be before the Olympics. To be precise, when Late RK Sacheti was at the helm as executive director, taking decisions was never an issue. There was no clarity over the men’s coaching staff with less than a month for the ongoing World Championships to commence. Just before the commencement of the national camp in October, the Boxing Federation of India constituted a team of coaches and support staff. What was heartening to see was the names of former stars in the team, who’ll instill fresh ideas on boxers. M Suranjoy Singh and Devendro Singh are such names.
What seems intriguing and irksome is that the BFI is yet to announce a coaching team for the senior women’s team. It’s three months after the Olympics now. That they could not announce the names before the nationals point towards either lack of clarity or confusion. There have been talks of appointing Bhaskar Bhatt as the head coach. However, it needs to be seen what role Mohammed Ali Qamar plays in the current dispensation. He is one of the coaches who has returned with a medal from the Olympics. Interestingly, Bhatt, who is a Sports Authority of India coach, was with the youth women’s team. Many boxers, who won medals at the just-concluded women’s nationals in Hisar, were his trainees.
The BFI apparently has been discussing a few names but Bhatt seems to be the frontrunner. However, with five of the 12 gold winners from Railways, there is pressure on BFI to accommodate Railways coaches. Incidentally, Ali Qamar is a Railways coach and is still performing some of the duties of a head coach. Some of the coaches, who were part of the Railways team, also felt they should have a representative in the team after their dominant show during the nationals. There is Services team, too, that is trying to get in.
There was no ambiguity over the selection of the women’s team after the BFI announced that all gold medallists, barring Lovlina Borgohain’s weight category, would automatically make it to the World Championships. The BFI was quite clear that this is the last time they are making an exception for Lovlina. Whether MC Mary Kom would also be included on the list needs to be seen. Going by men’s coaching staff, the women’s team, too, would be expected to have some known faces.