by Raffaele Bergamasco
Last month, I was in Assisi as part of the Indian team’s preparations for the Olympic qualifiers, which were held in Amman, Jordan, earlier in March. My hometown is Torre Annunziata near Naples but my family, including wife and two daughters, have been living in Assisi, which is in Central Italy. It is more than 700km away from the Northern region, the epicentre of the outbreak. To date, more than 2,000 people have died in Italy and we stand together as a nation to face this epidemic.
Two of my uncles live in Milan and Turin; I call them often to check on them. Their movement has been restricted and told to stay isolated. Luckily, all my relatives and friends in Northern Italy are well. The officials in Central and Southern Italy, too, have been reminding people of the basic things that need to be done to stop the virus from spreading. Here in India, we have updated all our boxers in the camp about the importance of washing hands and using masks while going outside. All of them understand this is a crucial period for them ahead of the Olympics — if they take place.
My wife understands that I should be in India, supporting the boxers. She calls me every day to check my health. She will visit India as soon as the situation gets better. My elder daughter Ida works for a restaurant chain in Assisi. While the restaurants have been told to close down for the general public, they have remained open to provide some essential items but under strict rules. My second daughter, Francesca, is studying biotechnology and her university is closed as well. She wants to pursue her higher studies in Delhi in the coming years and hopefully, she will be able to do so.
I have been living in Delhi for quite some time now. Earlier, I used to go to some Italian restaurants in Connaught Place. That has stopped for the time being. Our boxers needed a break after the qualifiers anyway, so we are not losing much in terms of time. The camp, right now, is closed. We are waiting for the Sports Authority of India and the Sports Ministry to give us directions. As soon as the situation becomes clearer, we will start training.
Bergamasco is the high performance director for Indian women boxers. He spoke to Nitin Sharma.