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Boxing Federation of India (BFI) to rejig coaching staff post-Belgrade World Championships

AIBA Men's World Boxing  Championships in Belgrade (courtesy: AIBA Twitter)
AIBA Men's World Boxing Championships in Belgrade (courtesy: AIBA Twitter)
Navneet Singh

India’s high-performance director of boxing discipline Santiago Nieva, appointed by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) in 2017, has faced a barrage of criticism for the five-member national men’s boxing team returning empty handed from the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games.

India’s Lovlina Borgohain won bronze in the women’s 69kg category at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Lovlina was among the four-member women’s team, including six-time world champion MC Marykom, who competed in Japan.

Italian boxing expert Raffaele Bergamasco, a high-performance director of women’s national team, was given a three-month extension by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) after his contract expired in September. But he quit last month as he wanted clarity on his extension for the 2022 season.

Santiago’s contract also expired in September this year. Despite not so encouraging performances at the Tokyo Olympic Games, the Swedish boxing expert was given a lifeline by the BFI. He is on probation for three months until December, said an official of the BFI.

A good performance by the Indian team at the ongoing AIBA World Boxing Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, is expected to brighten his chances for a further extension.

However, Santiago could face the exit door on the back of a poor showing by the contingent in Serbia. Santiago refused to speak on the contract issue.

BFI officials: Potential coaching staff changes can happen for the 2022 boxing season

Hemanta Kalita, secretary general of the BFI, was very clear on the renewal of the foreign expert contract. There are plans to rejig the coaching staff for the 2022 season, said Hemanta.

“We will advertise the post of foreign coach for the Indian team. We aren’t sure whether we will continue to have high performance director post in future or not,” said Hemanta.

The BFI has already made slight changes to the coaching staff of the men’s team. While India’s chief coach CA Kuttappa has a new role as coordinator for the team, Narinder Rana of Services has been appointed head coach of the men’s team.

The BFI has also pinned high hopes from the Indian team in Belgrade.

“The Indian team has been selected on a merit basis. This is the best team we have. All the boxers won gold medals at the national championships held in Bellary. The federation was transparent in its selection of the national team. We are expecting two or three medals at the world championships in Belgrade,” said BFI secretary general.

AIBA, the world governing body for boxing, has introduced 13 weight categories for the first time in the global competition. AIBA will also give cash awards to the winners of each of the 13 weight categories.

The gold medalist will be richer by $100,000 (Rs 75 lakh approx.), the silver and bronze medalists in each of the weight divisions will get a cash incentive of $50,000 (Rs 37 lakh approx.) and $25,000 (Rs 18 lakh approx.), respectively.

“This is for the first time winners of the world championships will be entitled to huge cash awards,” said national boxing coach.

Edited by Rohit Mishra

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