Lovlina Borgohain was the only Indian boxer to win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
After the disappointing performance of the Tokyo Olympics, a period of change has started in Indian boxing. The national federation also underestimated Tokyo’s performance. Already, the contract of the women’s team’s High Performance Director Raphael Bergamasco has not been extended. The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) has decided to appoint Narendra Rana of Sena Sports Institute as the head coach of the men’s team in place of CA Kuttappa ahead of this month’s World Championships.
With this, the chances of the men’s high performance director Santiago Nieva continuing his term are slim. The 49-year-old Rana Sena, a former Asian Championship bronze medalist and four-time national champion, has been a veteran coach of the Sports Control Board. He has coached World Championship medalists Amit Panghal and Manish Kaushik at different stages of their careers.
Kuttappa is a big name in Indian boxing
He is working at the Army Sports Institute (ASI) in Pune, which is credited with discovering talents like M Suranjay Singh, Vikas Krishna, Shiv Thapa and L Devendro Singh. Kuttappa confirmed this to PTI. He said, ‘Yes, Rana will take my place. I will not be the head coach but will continue to be a part of the coaching staff. The head coach of the women’s team, Mohammad Ali Qamar, can also be changed.
In the Tokyo Olympics, India had sent the largest contingent ever in boxing, consisting of five men and four women. In this only Lovlina Borgohain could get bronze medal. This was the country’s first medal in boxing in the last nine years at these Games. Indian boxers had performed well in international competitions ahead of the Olympics, leading to more medals expected from them.
Kuttappa was the coach of the team since 2018
Kuttappa took over as the head coach of the men’s team in 2018. He is a Dronacharya awardee and Vijender Singh won a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as a support staff to his national team. Niva was appointed in 2017 and her contract was extended till the World Championships to ensure continuity with the team. A federation source said, “There is a high probability that his contract will not be extended.” The World Championship will begin in Belgrade, Serbia from October 24. The Indian team includes Asian medalists Deepak Kumar (51kg), Shiv Thapa (63.5kg) and Sanjeet (92kg). With just a few days left for the tournament, it is still unclear when the national camp will begin before the boxers leave on October 20.
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