By Aparajita Upadhyay
New Delhi, Dec 8 (PTI) The man behind India's best ever medal haul at the recently-concluded AIBA Women's Youth Boxing Championship, Italian coach Raffaele Bergamasco, has been elevated to the position of Performance Director for senior women pugilists.
"Raffaele has been appointed as Performance Director for women's boxing. He will now also be a part of the team coaching the elite women along with coaching the Youth Women's team," a BFI official said during a felicitation function for the medal winners of the World Championships.
When asked about the additional responsibility and his plans for the team, Bergamasco told PTI, "I am new to the team. Tomorrow I will look at them and will have a talk with the elite coaches. The strategy for the future will be the same as the youth team."
"I don't know about 2024 (Olympics). I will not say anything beforehand. We will go step by step and 2024 will be our best. The girls just need to keep working hard and we will keep on achieving," he said.
Nitu (49kg), Jyoti (51kg), Sakshi (54kg), Shashi Chopra (57kg) and Ankushita Boro (64kg) had claimed gold medals at the elite junior event last month. Anupama (81kg) and Neha Yadav (+81kg) were the bronze-winners for India, which ended with seven medals in all. All the medallists were presented cash awards for their performance.
Five-time world champion and Olympic bronze-medallist, MC Mary Kom, who was also present at the felicitation, also lauded the achievement of the girls.
"I am so proud of the girls, they have performed so well. It's a great achievement. They need the support along with the love and affection of the people," she said.
Gaurav Bidhuri, who was India's lone medallist at the elite men's World Championships earlier this year, was also felicitated at the event. The bronze-medallist from the marquee event was presented a Rs two lakh cash award by the federation.
Taking about the success of the World Women's Youth Boxing Championships, BFI President Ajay Singh said, "This is the first time that Boxing Federation is hosting an elite event of this stature and magnitude and it is very important to keep hosting such tournaments as we are now being seen as one of the boxing powerhouse.
"We have already successfully hosted the Youth World Championship and now we are on course to host the India Open from January 28-February 1," he added.
India enjoyed a gold rush at the World Women's Youth Boxing Championships in Guwahati last month with the country's pugilists grabbing five top positions to finish overall champions for the first time