Bernard Dunne, the newly-appointed high performance director of Indian boxing, is impressed with the talented and hardworking boxers of the country and wants to guide them to Olympic success in Paris 2024.
The 42-year-old Irishman, a well-known professional boxer who trained the Irish boxers to World and Olympic medals in the last five years, feels the main challenge for him will be to check the Indian pugilists from overtraining.
“I had an impression a long time ago about your athletes. I have worked through this team for five years now. I had many training camps. India had come to training camps in Ireland. We had training camps in India, Italy and Germany. We have worked together many times. I can see the hunger in the athletes, it’s incredible,” Dunne, who accompanied the Irish team to Delhi for the 2018 World women’s championship, told Sportstar.
“A lot of times people talk about hard work and talent. This is probably the hardest working team I have seen. Probably one of the biggest challenges I am going to face is to try and pull them back a little bit. We don’t need to go 100 miles an hour in (all) days of the week. For me, what’s exciting is the talent we have.”
About his target of helping the Indian athletes, who are ‘technically at a high level,’ achieve Olympics glory, Dunne said, “We have only 639 days between now and the start of the Olympic Games and everyday counts. We have to make sure we maximize all the gameplans we have.
“In this team, you have got Commonwealth Games medals, Asian medals, World medals and (an) Olympic medal. It’s not like there is no talent here. There is a short space of time for me to make an impact and bring in my philosophy, ways of training and thought process. For me, it’s about making sure what the athletes need. They are on top of my list and whatever works for the athletes also works for me.”
Dunne, a former WBA super bantamweight champion, said he would like the Indian coaches and other support staff to improve as well.
“At the moment it is going to be observation, giving feedback to the coaches. It’s not about change, it’s about enhancing. I just don’t want to have world class athletes (only). I want to have a world class support team, world class coaches, both male and female. I want people to look towards India and say, ‘What they do, we need to do.’ That will come. It will be a collaboration. It is me working with the coaches, support staff, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) and the Sports Authority of India (SAI), but most importantly it’s me working with the athletes and listening to the athletes because it is their careers.
“The primary goal is to bring success and pride to India in Paris 2024. Post Olympics I will look at the more holistic piece, making sure that the transition from junior to all the way up the ladder is seamless.”
With the Asian championships in Amman around the corner, Dunne said he wanted the boxers to express themselves in the elite event.
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