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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Army’s Narender Rana set to be appointed Indian men’s boxing team’s head coach

A former Asian Championship bronze-medallist and a four-time national champion, the 49-year-old Rana has been a seasoned coach with the Services Sports Control Board.

By: PTI |
October 9, 2021 3:59:29 pm
Naman Tanwar, Naman Tanwar news, Naman Tanwar updates, Naman Tanwar Commonweath Games, CWG 2018, sports news, Indian Express(Source: Reuters)

The Boxing Federation of India has decided to replace men’s chief coach C A Kuttappa with Army Sports Institute’s Narender Rana ahead of this month’s world championship, which is also set to mark the end of High Performance Director Santiago Nieva’s tenure.

A former Asian Championship bronze-medallist and a four-time national champion, the 49-year-old Rana has been a seasoned coach with the Services Sports Control Board.

He has trained the likes of world championship medal winners Amit Panghal and Manish Kaushik at various stages of their careers.

He has been based at the Army Sports Institute (ASI) in Pune, the place credited with discovering stars such as M Suranjoy Singh, Vikas Krishan, Shiva Thapa and L Devendro Singh, among others.

The development was confirmed to PTI by Kuttappa.

“Yes, Mr Rana will take over from me. I remain a part of the coaching staff although not as chief coach,” he said.

The development continues the churning in Indian boxing after the Tokyo Olympics performance, which was dubbed underwhelming by the national federation. Already, women’s High Performance Director Raffaele Bergamasco has left after not getting an extension in his contract.

The women’s head coach Mohd Ali Qamar could also be replaced.

India had its biggest ever boxing team — five men and four women — competing at the Games in July-August, of whom only Lovlina Borgohain could finish on the podium with a bronze medal.

It was the country’s first boxing medal at the Games in nine years, but more was expected given the top form the pugilists had shown leading up to the showpiece.

Kuttappa took over as head coach for men in 2018. He is a Dronacharya awardee and has been a part of the support staff during some major milestones in Indian boxing including the 2008 Beijing Olympics bronze by Vijender Singh.

Nieva was appointed in 2017 and has been granted an extension till the world championships to ensure continuity.

“In all likelihood, he will not continue after that,” said a federation source.

The mega-event starts on October 24 in Belgrade, Serbia and the Indian squad comprises, among others, Asian medallists Deepak Kumar (51kg), Shiva Thapa (63.5kg) and Sanjeet (92kg).

The tournament is just days away but there is still no clarity on when the national camp would start ahead of the boxers’ departure on October 20.

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