Two years after being banned for his role in L Sarita Devi’s Asian Games meltdown, India’s former Cuban coach Blas Iglesias Fernandes is back in the country to conduct clinics for coaches and perhaps take a shot at reinstatement to his previous position.
It is learnt that his name has been recommended to the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) for a possible comeback and the matter is under consideration.
Asked if he has spoken to BFI about a possible comeback, Fernandes was at best evasive in his response.
“I have discussed some ideas but nobody is clear about things right now. So I will see how things progress from here,” Fernandes told PTI during an interaction.
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Fernandes was ringside when Sarita had lost in the semifinals of the Asian Games after seemignly dominating the bout.
Like Sarita, who broke down, the Cuban, it is alleged, also could not hide his anger and let it rip, resulting in the stringent ban from AIBA, which ended in October this year. He was also fined 2,000 Swiss Francs for the disciplinary transgression.
Even if he were to consider a comeback, Fernandes said he would not want to travel with the team at least for sometime.
“If I come back, I wish to be based completely in India. I want to train the juniors or the sub-juniors and even the seniors if needed. But I don’t want the travelling part. I was banned for two years by AIBA and it is better if I don’t travel internationally too much,” he said.
“I recently met the boxers in Punjab’s junior camp and it was a good experience,” he added.
Fernandes is currently in Chandigarh on the invitation of Punjab’s Department of Sports to conduct clinics for boxing coaches in universities.
The 61-year-old, who left the country in February last year, has been in Chandigarh since November 4 and will be based there till December 10.
Fernandes said he is happy to be back in India where he served as coach with the senior national team for more than two decades.
“I have been invited by the Punjab’s department of sports to conduct courses for coaches. I will be here till December 10. And I can’t tell you how happy I am to be back in the country which I consider my second home,” said Fernandes.
Asked how he spent the better part of his nearly two years away from India, Fernandes said he kept himself busy by training boys at a local club in Cuba.
“I was training boxers at my local club. Life was good there too, I got some good time with my family. But life is good here too and I would be happy to stay back if there is anopportunity,” he said.
“I have reconnected with some of my friends and it was nice to see them happy to see me here,” he added.
Fernandes has a good working relationship with current national coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu, who has already stated that he would not mind having him back in the fold.