Most of India’s top men and women boxers are currently at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) Patiala, and according to Nieva, they should now get down to sparring provided the camp gets SAI’s approval for that.
“Definitely, we expect (that),” said Nieva talking to Timesofindia.com from Patiala, when asked about contact training.
“We are waiting, in discussion, it looks good,” he added, when quizzed further if an official approval from BFI and SAI has been sought.
Nieva reckoned the boxers have regained whatever fitness they lost during the three-month long countrywide lockdown by the government back in March, which forced the Indian athletes to stay indoors, either at their homes or at SAI facilities across the country.
“We went into lockdown after the Olympic qualifiers (in March). They (the boxers) were in the best shape of their life then. Now, obviously they were not at that level,” said Nieva.
The camp began with physical training only, which has been going on for over a month now since the boxers came out of the mandatory quarantine, barring the ones who joined the camp later.
“Bearing in mind that they were for a long time without a camp, without proper training and so on, they were in fairly good state (when they arrived) and have been able to improve since then. Some of them were a little heavy, which was expected, but it was pretty normal. They hadn’t lost as much as we feared,” Nieva further told TimesofIndia.com.
“(There is) Continuous improvement. We had physical tests….We are pretty much where we should be…I am talking particularly about the men because that’s what I focus on, but also the girls because I have seen them and worked with them. They are also looking good,” he added.
Raffaele Bergamasco is BFI’s designated women’s high performance director.
Nieva didn’t give any timeline of when he expects sparring to start because the pandemic graph has spiked over the past few weeks, and SAI will assess that before giving the go ahead.
Calls to get a response from SAI remained unanswered.
“We have to just make sure that we follow the guidelines and everything is going to be solved,” Nieva concluded on a positive note.
Nine Indian boxers have so far qualified for the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics in 2021.