Their Olympic preparations are back on track after the disruption caused by COVID-19, Indian boxers will travel extensively to compete in various European tournaments over the coming months, starting with the prestigious Strandja Memorial in Bulgaria. In a conversation with PTI, Indian Boxing High Performance Director Santiago Nieva revealed that apart from an international schedule, he would also like to see the national championships take place some time before the Olympics. “This year we start with the Strandja Memorial in Bulgaria, then hopefully a tournament in Hungary and another after that. Apart from that we will stay in Bengaluru for the national camp and will probably invite foreign teams if they are okay to come, ”Nieva said, outlining plans for the next six months.
Strandja Memorial is one of the oldest boxing competitions on the European Circuit and is widely regarded as a season opener. In its 72nd edition this year, it will be held from February 21 to 28 in Sofia.
Nine Indian boxers – Amit Panghal (52kg), Manish Kaushik (63kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Ashish Kumar (75kg), Satish Kumar (+ 91kg), MC Mary Kom (51kg), Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69 kg) and Pooja Rani (75 kg) – qualified for the Olympics.
Some others could snatch tickets to Tokyo in the global playoffs to be held a month or two before the Games, postponed a year from the current one due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Games are scheduled for July-August.
Speaking of the pandemic, Nieva said the disruption was likely frustrating, but the Indians more than made up for the time lost during their two-month stay in Europe in November-December, in which they also competed in two competitions. .
“The SOPs for COVID in Patiala National Camp banned fighting so it was good to train after a long break. It was much needed and it has helped us stay competitive and we are good now, back on the right track.”
After being completely shut down due to the pandemic in March last year, the national camp resumed in August in a controlled environment, open only to Olympic and Olympic perspectives. However, boxers were not allowed to enter the ring or spar for fear of infection, which severely affected their overall training schedule.
“The boxers needed competition for motivation and they got two on that trip to Europe, it was a huge boost because the disruption had an impact. Not just us, every country felt a setback and everyone handled it differently, ”Nieva elaborated.
The Swede said he would not mind a national championship before the Olympics as it will give crucial competition to boxers who are not in the camp and hungry for training and competition. The convention in an Olympic year is to have the nationals after the quadrennial centerpiece.
“If that’s for sure, then I’d love to see the national championships soon. Maybe in a bio-bubble it would be great to keep boxers motivated because without competition it’s hard to just keep training. ”
“I know it won’t be easy to have a bio-bubble given the numbers and the scale of it, but we can at least think about it and check if it’s possible. It won’t be a bad one. idea, ”he told me.
“The tastes of Brazil and China have had their nationals, we can try too.”
The national championships could not take place last year because of the pandemic. The boxers are currently at the Inspire Institute of Sports in Bellary, a high performance facility founded by JSW Sports that has shooting ace Abhinav Bindra and former cricket captain Sourav Ganguly on its advisory board.
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