Indian pugilists are getting ready for combat without headgear. Top players, according to national coach Gurbax Sandhu, are gradually getting used to the new system.
“It’s not mandatory yet, but a large section of players in the camp have started stepping inside the ring without headgear,” he told HT on his return from Cyprus, where the Indian team had an excellent run.
The International Boxing Association (AIBA) had in March announced the new rules, banning headgear for elite amateur boxers in competition, to reduce head injuries, but the rule will be applicable from June 1. At the continental level, the Asian Confederation Boxing Championship, from June 30 to July 8 at Jordan, will be the first event where competitors will not use headgear.
Taking into account the safety of the competitor in the amateur field, headgear had been in used since 1980s. But AIBA in a statement had said, “as per available data, the removal of headgear in the men’s group would result in decreased number of concussions”.
The players are gradually getting used to the new system. “It may take some time, but the players are adopting the system in the national camp,” the coach said on the change of mindset of the players.
Regarding the performance of players without headgear, coach said, it should not make any difference. “We won’t be at a disadvantage, we are doing well and would continue to excel,” he added.