Rakesh Babu was sent home form Commonwealth Games 2018 after he breached the no needle policy.(REUTERS)
Rakesh Babu was sent home form Commonwealth Games 2018 after he breached the no needle policy.(REUTERS)

Boxing coach wants ‘No Needle Policy’ for national camps after 2018 Commonwealth Games

Santiago Nieva, India’s high performance director in boxing says a ‘No Needle Policy’ similar to the one at the 2018 Commonwealth Games should be followed in national camps too.
Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON APR 18, 2018 10:28 AM IST

India’s high performance director in boxing Santiago Nieva said a ‘No needle policy’ similar to the one at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games should be followed at the national camps as well.

The Indian contingent was embarrassed in Australia after the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) reprimanded India for breaking the ‘No Needle Policy’ after a senior boxer was administered “vitamins” before the Games began. Later during the Games, athletes KT Irfan and triple jumper Rakesh Babu were sent back from Australia after they too flouted the ‘No Needle Policy’.

Nieva put the onus on team doctor Amol Patel for the incident but to avoid such incidents in future, the Argentina-born coach pitched for a ‘no needle policy’ in national camps.

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“Will strongly recommend the federation to follow the policy so that all the coaching staff and players are aware,” Nieva said on the sidelines of a felicitation ceremony organised by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) on Tuesday.

The BFI, however, doesn’t have plans to probe the incident further. “The issue is over for us,” an official said.

Sweden-based Nieva said party time was over for the boxers as the focus now has to shift to the Asian Games in Jakarta, starting August 18. “Asian Games will not be a cakewalk. We will be facing some of the top boxing nations including Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. We have to prepare well to be in medal contention,” Nieva said.

Over the last one year, he says, things have improved, but priorities will be different in the coming months. “Our top boxers lack the skill to punch hard. So my emphasis now will be to fine tune their punching technique,” he said. With the use of headgear abolished in boxing, weight of punches play a crucial role in breaking down an opponent.

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Emphasis on good eating habits and quick recovery are the other two areas he wants to focus on. Some of the boxers are eating oily food which isn’t productive, he said. “Good natural food will help boxers avoid supplements. It will also aid faster recovery,” he added.

To select the national team for the CWG, the BFI had adopted a point system evaluating performance of boxers over time. The federation will continue to follow the same pattern for selecting the Asian Games squad. “One trial isn’t enough to select a team. Therefore, all boxers will be under observation from next week till the end of June,” said BFI president Ajay Singh.

The national squad will leave for Serbia for an exposure-cum-competition tour next week. Later this month the squad will be on a 10-day conditioning camp in the USA.

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