India to field strongest teams in CWG, Asian Games

According to Santiago Nieva, India’s High Performance Director in boxing, India would pick its best boxers to get better results in the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.

M. C. Mary Kom “can easily have three more years till the (2020) Olympics,” says Nieva.   -  Sandeep Saxena

India's High Performance Director (HPD) in boxing, Santiago Nieva, said the country would field its strongest boxer in each weight in the two upcoming mega events next year.

Nieva said India would pick its best boxers to get better results in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. “We will field the strongest team in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. It is not about fielding one team here and one team there. If the same boxer is the No. 1 and the best boxer in a weight, then he will go to both. Sometimes you can make some strategic move if you have two equally good boxers in a particular weight,” said Nieva, who was here to watch the World Youth Women Boxing championship.

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Asked about Indian women boxers' chance in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, Nieva said, “It is is a huge opportunity to have the youth women World championship this year and the elite women World championship next year. It is a tremendous boost for any country. For the 2020 Olympics, I am sure India will be well prepared. Women's boxing is expanding from three weights to five. That gives us a good chance.”

Mary Kom set for 2020 Olympics

On five-time World champion and Olympic medallist M. C. Mary Kom's chances of competing in Tokyo, Nieva, who was hired to coach the men before being elevated as the HPD, said the 34-year-old star could carry on till the Olympics. “She is still performing, was the only one to win a gold medal in the Asian championship. Now in 2017, with modern training methods, boxers can have a longer career. Ten or 15 years ago, you could have said this is the end of her career. But today I would say easily she can have three more years till the Olympics.”

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Nieva said India needed to give its boxers more competitive exposure to raise the overall standard of boxing. “Right now we don't have a good competition system in India. In most countries in Europe and some countries in Asia, any boxer at any level gets between 15 and 20 fights every year and can compete every month. We have boxers (in the camp) who do not have any official competition for eight months. We are harming the development of the boxers if we cannot offer them competitions,” he said.