The Indian boxing contingent will compete at the Commonwealth Games, without their team doctor present ringside after his accreditation was exchanged in order for Olympic bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain’s personal coach Sandhya Gurung to receive hers.
Gurung had originally not been accredited for the Games but received her accreditation for the Commonwealth Games on Tuesday, a day after Borgohain claimed on social media her preparation for the event was getting affected due to ‘continuous harassment” of her coaches.
But with only a fixed number of support staff given accreditation, it is learned that a decision was made for Gurung to be given an accreditation at the expense of another support staff. “Sandhya Gurung coach was issued an accreditation and Dr Karanvir Chib’s accreditation has been changed to that of ‘P-Coach’. That means that Chib will be issued a pass to access the Games Village. He will be able to enter the Games village in the morning and he can stay there till late at night,” says Col. Arun Malik, the executive director of Boxing Federation of India.
Dr. Chib, however, will not be allowed to enter the competition arena. In case of any injury during a bout, India will only be able to make use of doctors who are provided by the organisers themselves. Injuries in boxing are fairly common. At last year’s Olympic Games, superheavyweight boxer Satish Kumar received 13 stitches on his face due to cuts suffered in his bouts and was only able to take to the ring in his quarterfinal after careful management by Dr. Chib.
India received a total of eight accreditations for the Commonwealth Games. This too was above the total of 4 that they were originally allotted. (Support staff are supposed to comprise no more than 33 per cent of the number of athletes. With a total of 12 boxers, India was originally expected to field a team of just 4 support staff). “We had already requested the IOA to increase the number of support staff we could travel with. It started out as four, then went to six and we finally got permission for 8 support staff,” says Col Malik.
Dr. Chib is not the only support staff of the boxing team who will not be staying in the games village. Although eight accreditations were issued, only two rooms for a total of four individuals have been made available to the support staff. “The recommendations we got from the coaches was that the physios were more important than the doctor or the coach. The physiotherapists are essential to prepare our boxers and their work carries on late into the night. (Women’s chief coach) Bhaskar Bhatt and Dr. Chib were initially supposed to stay in the village but they felt they should move out so that the two physios with the team can stay with our boxers in the village,” says Col Malik.
While a room in the games village was arranged for Sandhya Gurung by the IOA, both Bhatt and Dr. Chib will be staying at a hotel, a short distance away from the venue. “Coach Bhaskar Bhatt will also be present throughout the day with the boxers and he will only return to his hotel to sleep. Dr. Chib will also be present throughout the boxers training,” says Col. Malik.