Cuba promises a high-profile boxing coach for India

January 6th, 2009 - 7:26 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 6 (IANS) The Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) is hoping to get a high-profile Cuban coach to train the Indian boxers for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. IABF secretary general P. K. Muralidhar Raja told IANS that the federation has approached Cuba Desportes (Cuban sports authority) for an experienced coach associated with a top national team.

The IABF had suggested the name of noted coach Juan Fontalis, who was with the Thailand national team, two of whose boxers are Olympic champions. But the Cubans were unwilling to relieve him saying he has been out of the country for too long and he should return home.

“Fontalis is a well-known coach, having done wonders with the Thai boxers, so we wanted him. But Cuba Desportes wants him back home as he has been out of the country for too long,” Raja said.

“But the Cuban authority has assured us that they will help us in getting a really good coach.”

IABF is keen on a Cuban coach after seeing B.I. Fernandez’s stupendous work with the Indian boxers and his contribution in helping the country win a bronze medal at the Beijing Olympic Games. He has been associated with Indian boxing for 17 years in different stints and the IABF now wants him to train juniors.

“For the national team we want a coach who has been associated with a top national team, so that Fernandez can take charge of juniors as his basics are very good,” Raja said.

Raja also said Mittal Champions Trust (MCT) has agreed to defray a substantial part of the foreign coach’s salary.

“When we were talking to Fontalis, MCT assured us that it would bear a good part of the salary. Hopefully their offer still stands,” he said.

The IABF secretary-general would be leaving later this month for Canada to attend a meeting of the Judges and Referee Commission of the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) and during the visit he would finalise the Cuban coach’s name from the list of AIBA Academy coaches in Becancour.

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