World youth women c’ship: India’s performance delights coach

With seven of India’s boxers in the semifinals, coach Raffael Bergamasco is too superstitious to predict anything about the last two rounds.

The presence of seven of its boxers in the semifinals may have earned India its best ever showing in the World youth women boxing championship, but foreign coach Raffael Bergamasco is too superstitious to predict anything about the last two rounds.

In the semifinals, four Indians – Jyoti Gulia (51kg), Shashi Chopra (57kg), Ankushita Boro (64kg) and Neha Yadav (+81kg) – will fight on Friday and the remaining three – Nitu (48kg), Sakshi Chaudhary (54kg) and Anupama (81kg) – on Saturday.

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Asked how many of these girls could go on to win gold or silver medals, Bergamasco said, “No, no...I am a Napoli man, very superstitious. I don't allow other coaches to change their chairs during bouts.”

‘Happy’

The Italian was delighted with the showing of the Indians. “This is very good for future. I am happy because of the overall performance of the girls.”

Bergamasco was sympathetic towards Astha Pahwa, who cried inconsolably after losing her 69kg quarterfinal bout to Turkey's Canser Oltu. “I am happy except for this one bout. I am sorry for her. For me, she was the winner.”

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Bergamasco was gracious when asked about his contribution in the success of the Indian boxers, who coped with the pressure of a big event and boxed confidently. “I worked on their game only. Footwork and other things. Some good coaches were there before. The girls are very strong. I came for this championship and did very little...I am not Aladdin.”

The Italian said if this group of girls (who are 18 years of age or less) were groomed properly, they could bring laurels for the country at the Olympics. “Yes (they can win medals in the Olympics), that is my dream for India. It is a big country with so many people. India can win an Olympic gold medal in 2024. I cannot say that about 2020. The boxing federation is doing good work and it should continue like this,” said Bergamasco.

Indian boxers' semifinal bouts
  • On Friday:
  • 51kg: Jyoti Gulia vs Zhansaya Abdraimova (Kaz), 57kg: Shashi Chopra vs Namuun Monkhor (Mgl), 64kg: Ankushita Boro vs Thanchanok Saksri (Tha) and +81kg: Neha Yadav vs Dina Islambekova (Kaz).
  • On Saturday:
  • 48kg: Nitu vs Yuan Nie (Chn), 54kg: Sakshi Chaudhary vs Sena Irie (Jpn), 81kg: Anupama vs Anastasiia Rybak (Rus).