The boxing hall at the Indira Gandhi Stadium reverberates with the sound of “thud, thud, thud”. In one corner, a middle-aged man, oblivious to all the chaos, is firing instructions at a 20-something girl, asking her to pack more power in her punches.
“I was just asking my daughter Katie to pack more power (in her punches),” says Peter Taylor from Ireland, who is here for the Women’s World Boxing Championship starting at the Talkatora Stadium on Friday.
“My daughter is the only boxer from Ireland participating in these championships, you can say ours is a ‘one man’ team,” adds Taylor.
“Katie did not have to look far for inspiration as we are a family of boxers. Apart from Katie, my two sons, Peter and Lee, are also good in the sport.
“Of course, it was on my insistence that they took up the sport but all of them have developed pretty well. In fact, Katie is a twice European champion in the 60kg category,” reveals the proud father, as his daughter furiously throws jabs and punches.
A slight gesture of the hand and Katie increases the pace of her movements. “Katie’s mother is the only one in the family who’s not an athlete. But she enjoys watching the sport. I was an active boxer myself from 1986 to 1995, before I turned to coaching.”
Katie and Taylor are not the only father-daughter duo here on a mission. The Aussie uncle-niece ‘team’ of Pat de Villiers and Jasmine is also here to make its mark! “Yeah, we have an uncle-niece pair in our team!” says manager Nick Abraham.
Sure, enthusiasm acquires a different meaning when family members are at hand!
Poor facilities irk coach
The training and accommodation facilities provided by Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) have drawn flak from foreign coaches, with the Algerian coach Sidi Yokoub Abdelhok saying, “It’s very bad.”
Abdelhok added, “It is nowhere near the facilities provided by the Russians when they hosted the championships. But, since it is our job is to participate and give our best, we will have to make do with whatever conditions provided by the hosts.”
Irish coach Peter Taylor was more tactful. “They could have done better, but it’s okay,” he says.
Algeria is fielding just two players — Koufi Arbia and Meharzi Manel. “They are both good and can come up with fine performances.
“We are here to win medals, but speaking of favourites, I would say the Russians will reap a good harvest. North Korea can also not be taken lightly,” he said.