Thursday, April 18

BFI News: HPD Dunne Resigns, Foreign Coach Likely Axed After Olympic Qualifier Debacle

With just four months left until the Paris Games, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) faces a coaching crisis. HPD Dunne resigns.

Indian boxing is facing a major crisis after a dismal performance in the first World Olympic Boxing Qualifiers held in Italy. With just four months remaining until the Paris Olympics, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) is scrambling to find solutions and secure Olympic berths for its boxers.

Coaching Turmoil at BFI

  • High Performance Director Resigns: Bernard Dunne, the Irish former professional boxer appointed as India’s High Performance Director in October 2022, has tendered his resignation. This move comes amidst widespread criticism of the team’s performance and Dunne’s coaching methods.
  • Foreign Coach Likely to be Axed: The BFI is expected to show Dmitry Dmitruk, the foreign coach appointed in February 2022, the exit door. The federation is looking towards Indian coaches to take charge of the men’s and women’s teams for the remaining qualifiers.

Reasons for Disappointment

  • Empty-Handed Return: None of the nine Indian boxers (two women and six men) who participated in the first qualifiers managed to secure a spot at the Paris Games. This includes a first-round knockout loss and a first-round RSC (Referee Stops Contest) defeat, raising concerns about the boxers’ form and preparation.
  • Controversial Selection Process: Dunne’s decision to do away with selection trials in favor of an “evaluation process” has drawn criticism. Many boxers and coaches, including former men’s chief coach Narender Rana, believe this method to be subjective and disadvantageous.

BFI Faces A Race Against Time

  • One Last Chance: Indian boxers have a final opportunity to qualify for the Olympics at the second World Olympic Boxing Qualifier scheduled for May 23rd in Bangkok.
  • Focus on Indian Coaches: The BFI plans to appoint Indian coaches to lead the teams in the remaining qualifiers. With limited time remaining, the ability of these coaches to quickly integrate and improve the boxers’ performance will be crucial.
  • Selection Process Under Scrutiny: The BFI must address concerns regarding the selection process and ensure fairness and transparency in picking boxers for the qualifiers.

Additional Considerations

  • Sparring Partner Shortage: Dunne’s decision to limit the number of boxers in Olympic weight categories at training camps may have resulted in a lack of quality sparring partners. This could have hindered the boxers’ preparation and ability to adapt to different fighting styles.
  • Legal Challenges: Several boxers, including Amit Panghal, the country’s sole men’s World Championship silver medalist, challenged the selection process in court after repeatedly losing out to Deepak Bhoria in the evaluations.

Conclusion

The BFI faces a monumental task in the coming months. Finding the right coaching team, potentially revising the selection process, and ensuring the boxers peak in time for the qualifiers are all critical factors in India’s quest for Olympic boxing glory. The next few weeks will be crucial in determining whether Indian boxing can bounce back from this setback and send a strong contingent to Paris.

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