Dronacharya awardee CA Kuttappa has returned as the head coach of the Indian men’s boxing team for a second stint, a decision made by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) on the advice of High Performance Director Bernard Dunne.
Kuttappa has replaced Army Sports Institute’s Narender Rana, who was appointed as the chief coach in October 2021.
“The federation had an internal meeting and the decision was taken on the advice of the new High Performance Director. He wanted Kuttappa in the team,” BFI secretary-general Hemanta Kalita told PTI on Wednesday.
“The new High Performance Director is making his team and there is no permanent position for head coach,” he added.
Incidentally, it was Rana who had taken over from Kuttappa after BFI had made wholesale changes in the staff following the poor show at the Tokyo Olympics, where none of the male pugilists won a medal.
However, Kuttappa continued to remain a part of the coaching staff.
With important tournaments such as the men’s World Championships, Asian Games and Olympics lined up in the next two years, BFI hopes Kuttappa will stay on as the head coach till Paris 2024.
“We want him to stay till the Olympics but his position will be on a performance basis,” Kalita said.
He is currently overseeing the national camp in Patiala, which includes the likes of Shiva Thapa and Commonwealth Games medallist Md Hussamuddin, Rohit Tokas and Sagar.
During Kuttappa’s first stint as head coach from 2018-2021, Amit Panghal had won a historic silver medal at the world championships.
The Services coach has been a part of the support staff during some major milestones in Indian boxing, including the 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze by Vijender Singh.
Second-string women’s team for Strandja Memorial
With the women’s world championships in New Delhi starting a few days after the Strandja Memorial ends, the top women boxers will give the European tournament a miss.
A notice issued by the BFI stated the “silver medallists of the 6th Elite Women’s National Boxing Championship 2022 in all 12 weight categories” will compete in the Strandja Memorial tournament.
Strandja Memorial, Europe’s oldest international boxing tournament, is slated to be contested between February 18 to 27 while the women’s World Championships will begin on March 15.
This means the likes of reigning world champion Nikhat Zareen and Tokyo Olympics bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain will not be competing in Bulgaria.
Rural Electrification Corporation to boost Indian boxing’s growth
Leading Maharatna Company under the Ministry of Power, Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) will support the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) and provide a major boost to the development of Indian boxing for the next three years.
The company will spend Rs 30 crore, as part of its CSR initiative, over three years with the aim to develop the sport in India.
As part of the support agreement, BFI will utilise the funds to conduct an international training camp in New Delhi from March 3 to 12 ahead of the women’s World Championships.
“REC’s commitment towards nation building constitutes their core value and this is no different to BFI’s vision and goal of transforming India into a boxing powerhouse globally,” said BFI vice-president and Head of Marketing Debojo Maharshi.
Through this partnership, REC will also provide support in conducting international camps for national boxers across all age categories and will also contribute to grassroots development by empowering state-level training academies and coaches to shape the future of Indian boxing.