We needed to get back on track, says Santiago Nieva

India's boxing high performance director, Santiago Nieva, lists positives of the extended European tour.

Santiago Nieva favoured extending the tour for the Cologne World Cup, also known as Chemistry Cup.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

As the Indian boxing team is looking forward to competing in the Cologne World Cup from December 17 during an extended European tour, high performance director Santiago Nieva feels the exposure has given the boxers certain advantage.

Nieva listed positives of the tour, which included a 52-day trip to Italy and France.

Good sparring

“It was very important for us to get out of Patiala and get some different sparring. We had good sparring in Italy. We went to a competition, the first since the Olympic qualifiers (in March), in France. We had another competition in Milan.

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“We needed to get back on track and test ourselves with boxers of different styles. This was crucial for our Olympics preparation because in India we obviously had limited (scope)... I think we are ahead of other countries in our international schedule,” Nieva told Sportstar.

Living in a bio-bubble was tough for the boxers. “We would have liked to go for some sightseeing to Rome or Venice. But we are on a mission for the Olympics and cannot risk ourselves.”

Nieva favoured extending the tour for the Cologne World Cup, also known as Chemistry Cup.

“Chemistry Cup was initially scheduled in October. Then Germany had COVID-19 problems. They postponed it, gave us an invitation. When we evaluated, we realised it was worth extending our trip for two more weeks.

“It will not be as strong as other years when Cuba and the USA were there. But there are strong European countries like Germany, France and Great Britain. There are no super strong competitions in the world right now.”

After this, the boxers will take a two-week break before resuming training ahead of other international activities.

“All this experience will help us in January and February. It was important to have good training, sparring and competitions. The alternative would have been much worse for us,” said Nieva.

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