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Are two boxing medals coming India’s way at Paris 2024 Olympics? Veteran coach confident

Are two boxing medals coming India’s way at Paris 2024 Olympics? Veteran coach confident

Nikhat (50 kg) and Lovlina (75 kg) are among the four Indian women boxers who have earned spots for the July-August Summer Games in Paris

Long-standing boxing coach Blas Iglesias Fernandez has voiced strong confidence in Indian boxer Nikhat Zareen’s ability to secure a medal at the upcoming Paris 2024 Olympics. Fernandez, a 68-year-old Cuban coach who has been instrumental in shaping Indian boxing since his arrival in 1990, believes that Lovlina Borgohain also has a chance, provided she exhibits a “killer instinct.”

Recipient of the esteemed Dronacharya Award, Fernandez has returned to India after being appointed by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) as a High-Performance Coach for a two-year tenure. Based at the National Boxing Academy in Rohtak, Haryana, Fernandez is eager to contribute to the advancement of Indian boxing talent.

Addressing a multinational camp for junior boxers at SAI’s National Centre of Excellence in Rohtak, Fernandez shared his insights on India’s prospects at the upcoming Summer Games. Drawing from his extensive experience, Fernandez envisions India securing “at least two medals” in Paris, with Nikhat Zareen, competing in the 50kg category, emerging as a formidable contender for one of them.

“I love the boxing (style) of Nikhat. She is very intelligent. Nikhat has good ring tactics. She knows when she is winning and when she is losing,” remarked Fernandez to SAI Media, highlighting Zareen’s adept control over her matches.

Paris 2024 Olympics

“This is Nikhat’s time to prove herself. It’s true that she had lived in the shadows of Mary Kom but now it’s her chance to prove herself and make India proud,” said Fernandez.

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Lovlian has the potential: BI Fernandez

Following Tokyo, 26-year-old Lovlina has encountered challenges with her form. Transitioning from the 69 kg to 75 kg division posed its challenges. Lovlina failed to secure a medal at the 2022 World Championships and the Commonwealth Games. However, the tall Assam native secured her Paris berth after clinching gold at the 2023 World Championships and silver at the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games.

“Lovlina needs to exhibit more aggression. Upon reviewing some of her bouts, it’s evident that her passive approach cost her victories. With a proactive and assertive boxing style, she has the potential to secure a medal in Paris,” remarked Fernandez.

Nikhat (50 kg) and Lovlina (75 kg) are among the four Indian women boxers who have earned spots for the July-August Summer Games in Paris. The other qualifiers are Preeti Pawar (54 kg) and Parveen Hooda (57 kg). Lovlina clinched a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

Paris 2024 Olympics

Fernandez remains hopeful that India’s men will also qualify for the Paris Games. The outcome hinges on their performance in the second and final world qualifiers in Bangkok from May 23 to June 3. With up to 51 Paris quotas at stake, Indian boxers have the opportunity to secure nine more spots for Paris.

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