Elite boxers’ wait to resume training gets longerJune 29, 2020
Confusion over the choice of venue has led to the men’s boxing team, which has qualified for the Tokyo Olympics, unable to resume training after the long coronavirus- enforced lockdown. Nine Indian boxers, including four women, had qualified for the Games at the continental qualifiers in March in Jordan and their training was to resume in the last week of June.
Rajkumar Sangwan, a Boxing Federation of India (BFI) selection committee member, said, “The federation is yet to get the Sports Authority of India (SAI) approval. I think the safety of athletes is the primary concern (of SAI) because of the spike in Covid-19 cases. The resumption of training will depend upon the situation. It might take a week, 10 days or even a month.”
Earlier this month, India’s high-performance director Santiago Nieva had proposed the Inspire Institute of Sports (IIS) in Bellary, Karnataka for training, and two boxers, Vikas Krishan (69kg) and Ashish Kumar (75kg), had reached the venue in anticipation and are in mandatory 14-day quarantine.
On Saturday, it transpired that NIS, Patiala would likely be the training venue. “There is confusion as athletes inside IIS are not being allowed to go out, while those outside aren’t being allowed to enter,” a coaching staff member said, adding, “In that case, the best option will be Patiala.”
But here too, the boxers will have to go through the 14-day quarantine before resuming training.
In May when SAI announced the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for resumption of training for elite sportspersons, only athletes and hockey players, who had got stuck in SAI campuses when the lockdown was enforced in March, were allowed to commence training.
The training in disciplines like boxing and wrestling, where sparring partners are needed, wasn’t approved.
The BFI now wants to reduce the number of athletes in the proposed camp. “To start with, we will have five boxers who have qualified for the Olympics —Amit Panghal, Manish Kaushik, Vikas Krishan, Ashish Kumar and Satish Kumar—in the camp,” a coaching staff member said.
“They will have to undergo 14-day quarantine and then the training will commence. Initially, the emphasis will be on fitness, hence there will be no need for sparring partners.”
Nieva, who was optimistic about the camp resuming in May, when asked about the delay, said, he wasn’t authorised to speak.