Their Olympic preparations again on observe after the disruption brought on by COVID-19, Indian boxers shall be travelling extensively to compete in numerous European tournaments within the subsequent couple of months beginning with the celebrated Strandja Memorial in Bulgaria. In a dialog with PTI, Indian boxing’s High-Performance Director Santiago Nieva revealed that aside from a global schedule, he would additionally prefer to see the nationwide championships happen a while earlier than the Olympic Games. “This year, we are starting with the Strandja Memorial in Bulgaria, then hopefully a tournament in Hungary and one more after that. Apart from this, we will be staying put at Bengaluru for the national camp and probably invite some foreign teams if they agree to come,” Nieva stated giving a lowdown of the plans for the following six months.
Strandja Memorial is without doubt one of the oldest boxing competitions within the European circuit and is extensively thought of a season-opener. In its 72nd version this yr, it’s scheduled to be held from February 21 to 28 in Sofia.
Nine Indian boxers — Amit Panghal (52kg), Manish Kaushik (63kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Ashish Kumar (75kg), Satish Kumar (+91kg), M C Mary Kom (51kg), Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), and Pooja Rani (75kg) — have certified for the Olympics.
Some extra might seize Tokyo tickets on this planet qualifiers set to be held a month or two earlier than the Games, postponed by a yr to the present one owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Games are scheduled in July-August.
Speaking of the pandemic, Nieva stated the disruption was expectedly irritating however the Indians greater than made up for the misplaced time throughout their two-month-long European sojourn in November-December throughout which they participated in two competitions as properly.
“The SOP for COVID in the Patiala national camp barred sparring, so it was nice to get some sparring after a long break. It was much needed and it has helped us stay competitive and we are good now, back on track.”
After being halted utterly due to the pandemic in March final yr, the nationwide camp had resumed in August in a managed setting, open just for the Olympic-bound and Olympic prospects. However, the boxers weren’t allowed to entry the ring or spar for concern of an infection, severely affecting their general coaching routine.
“The boxers needed competition for the sake of motivation and they got two during this Europe trip, it was a huge boost because the disruption had an impact. Not just us, every country has felt a setback and everyone has dealt with it differently,” Nieva elaborated.
The Swede stated he would not thoughts a nationwide championship earlier than the Olympics as it could give essential competitors to boxers who aren’t within the camp and are ravenous for coaching and competitors. The conference in an Olympic yr is to have the nationals after the quadrennial showpiece.
“If it is safe, then I would like to see the national championships soon. Perhaps in a bio-bubble, it would be great to keep boxers motivated because without competition, it is difficult to just go on training.”
“I know it won’t be easy to have a bio-bubble given the numbers and scale of it, but we can at least give it a thought and check if it is possible. It won’t be a bad idea,” he stated.
“The likes of Brazil and China have had their Nationals, we can try too.”
The nationwide championships couldn’t happen final yr due to the pandemic. The boxers are presently in Bellary’s Inspire Institute of Sports, a high-performance facility based by JSW Sports and which has capturing ace Abhinav Bindra and former cricket captain Sourav Ganguly on its advisory board.
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