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Coach Fernandes throws weight behind boxers

For BI Fernandes, the country's boxing coach, India is a home away from home. The Cuban has lost count of the number of times has he been appointed coach and has returned to train India's best, but he doesn't mind.

india Updated: Nov 15, 2010 22:41 IST
Ajai Masand

For B I Fernandes, the country's boxing coach, India is a home away from home. The Cuban has lost count of the number of times has he been appointed coach and has returned to train India's best, but he doesn't mind.

"I have lost count of the number of times I've returned to India. Something draws me to this country and I keep coming back again and again," he says with a smile.

More than anything else, his 'comebacks' have only helped Indian pugilists make a big mark at the international arena.

As India begin their campaign in boxing on Tuesday, with the pocket-sized Suranjoy Singh, the Commonwealth Games gold-medallist, taking on a Thai opponent in the 52kg category, Fernandes is not unduly worried about the opening bout.

"Of course, there are good pugilists from China, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Thailand, but we too have good boxers. They are capable of giving a good bout and everybody can win," he says.

The preparations after the Commonwealth Games though have not gone the way he would have wanted.

"There were parties, felicitation ceremonies after the CWG, which did affect the schedule. But you cannot stop the players from going for felicitations. In fact, I didn't want to. This was their golden moment and they were getting rewarded," said Fernandes.

"Still, I have worked hard on their speed and provided variety in attack and counter- attacks. You cannot keep repeating the same attack again and again. You will lose," he says, adding that all the CWG medal-winners including gold-medallists Paramjit Samota and Suranjoy were capable of beating the best on any given day.

"I believe Suranjoy had beaten the Thai opponent he would be meeting on Tuesday at the Asian Championships in 2009," he says before heading off to the training arena.