Indian men's boxing team's High Performance Director Santiago Nieva is all set to be retained for at least one more year after several rounds of deliberation within the national federation following an underwhelming Olympic performance by the male pugilists. The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) will also look for a High Performance Director for women boxers and invite applications through advertisements.
That position was left vacant after Italian Raffaele Bergamasco's contract was not renewed after the Tokyo Olympics, where Lovlina Borgohain was the lone pugilist to clinch a medal. Nieva, who is at his base Sweden right now, was given a three-month extension after the Olympics. The BFI had stated that a further extension for Nieva would depend on a review of the performance in Tokyo where none of the male boxers could go past the preliminary rounds.
"It is almost a done deal that Santiago will be retained. The position of women's High Performance Director would be advertised for. In fact, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) has allowed BFI to have HPDs for junior and youth boxers as well, so we will advertise for these positions as well," a top federation source told PTI. "Santiago would be in another for one year and from now on it has been decided that all foreign coaches for boxers would be signed up as High Performance Directors," he added.
The federation, just months back, had been critical of Nieva with officials saying that there was "dissatisfaction" with the Olympic performance given that a record nine boxers -- five men and four women -- qualified. They were considered strong medal contenders on the back of some solid international performances prior to the Games but only Borgohain managed to finish on the podium with a bronze. Bergamasco, who is based in Italy, left the country last year in September after waiting here for several weeks without any communication from the BFI on the status of his contract's long-term renewal.
The women in general performed better than the men in Tokyo by progressing to pre-quarters and quarters stage. All BFI offered Bergamasco after the Games was a three-month extension which he wasn't keen on accepting. This year, the boxers would be aiming to shake off the Olympic disappointment with stronger performances in marquee events like the Commonwealth and Asian Games. The women's world championship is also due to be held in May in Turkey. Originally scheduled for December last year, it was postponed owing to the global surge in COVID-19 cases.