BFI seeks three-month extension for foreign coaches

Indian boxing has two foreign recruits in men's High Performance Director Santiago Nieva of Sweden and his women's team counterpart Rafaelle Bergamasco from Italy.

Santiago Nieva

High Performance Director of men's Indian boxing team, Santiago Nieva, in Guwahati on November 26, 2017.   -  The Hindu

The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) has sought a three-month extension for its foreign coaches, whose contracts were expiring this month, saying a review will be done after the World Championships for men and women later this year.

Indian boxing has two foreign recruits in men's High Performance Director Santiago Nieva of Sweden and his women's team counterpart Rafaelle Bergamasco from Italy. Both of them came on board in 2017 and their contracts were to end after the Tokyo Olympics.

"We have sought a three-month extension (from the Sports Authority of India) for both of them. The men's World Championship is due next month and the women's one is scheduled some time in December. We want continuity," BFI secretary general Hemanta Kalita told PTI.

The decision was taken at the BFI's Executive Committee meeting recently.

"Our review of the Olympic performance is still an ongoing process and we would take a decision on any further extension after the two World Championships," Kalita explained.

"This is going to take some time. An extension will ensure that our preparations are not disrupted," he said.

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An unprecedented nine Indian boxers, five men and four women, qualified for the Tokyo Games, of which only Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) could finish on the podium with a bronze medal.

Among the men, only Satish Kumar (+91kg) could reach the quarterfinals, while four others, including world number one Amit Panghal (52kg), lost in their opening round bouts.

BFI President had backed both the boxers as well as the coaching staff, saying that he he cannot overlook the unparalleled results of the past four years which included two medals for the first time at the men's World Championships and never-before-seen hauls in the Asian and Commonwealth Games.

Both Nieva and Bergamasco have expressed the desire to continue.

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The 47-year-old Nieva is a member of the International Boxing Association's (AIBA) coaches committee and Vice President of the Asian Boxing Confederation's (ASBC) coaches committee.

Kalita also informed that after the men's National Championship from September 15, the BFI will conduct the women's national event in the second week of October.

"The dates will be finalised in some days but the window would be the second week of October. We plan to hold the tournament in Hisar in Haryana. The World Championships are due in December so that window is perfect to have the Nationals," he said.

Both the men's and women's National Championships could not be held last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The gold medal winners of the men's Nationals will qualify for the World Championships.

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