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Boxing Federation of India and Bernard Dunne part ways ahead of the Paris Olympics

The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) announced that it has accepted the resignation of high-performance director Bernard Dunne. Subsequently, the Indian team will continue to train under the guidance of foreign coach Dmitrij Dmitruk. The decision was taken during the federation’s way forward meeting, which was chaired by the BFI President Ajay Singh.

“Bernard Dunne was an integral part of BFI’s set-up but unfortunately we have to mutually part ways. His resignation was accepted by the committee. During his tenure, the Indian boxers have achieved multiple milestones. We express our sincere gratitude for his dedication, hard work and contributions and we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavours,” commented BFI President Ajay Singh.

The 44-year-old former Irish boxer, Dunne took over as high-performance director of Indian boxing in 2022. The Indian team won several international medals under his tenure, including four gold medals at the 2023 Women’s World Championships, three bronze at the 2023 Men’s World Championships and five medals at the 2022 Asian Games.

Head coach CA Kuttappa and other coaches including L Devendro Singh, Torak Kharpran, Khimanand Belwal, DS Yadav, Pranamika Borah, Abhishek Sah and Poonam Sharma will continue to be part of the coaching structure. Jai Singh Patil and Durga Prasad Gandhamalla will be the new additions to the coaches’ list.

Read more: Paris Olympics 2024: Gulveer Singh shatters NR in 10000 m, misses Olympic Quota

Why this decision all of a sudden?

This development comes after the Indian boxers failed to secure a single 2024 Paris Olympics quota in the qualifiers earlier in the month. Six men and two women boxers were eliminated in the first round of the tournament in Busto Arsizio last week. Only Nishant Dev (71kg) won three bouts before losing in the quarterfinals.

Dunne succeeded Santiago Nieva as High-Performance director and joined the Indian team in October 2022. Dunne had led the Irish high-performance boxing team from 2017 to 2022 and under his leadership they performed at the highest level, winning European, World and Olympic gold medals. The Irishman, however, has had a tumultuous tenure in India.

Dunne abolished the selection trials and implemented a new selection policy based on an evaluation process in the national camp in which boxers are evaluated on a variety of criteria. Some boxers even challenged the selection policy in the court.

Although this stabilised the ship of the capsizing ship, these changes did not alter the eventual result which was about to come. Subsequently, the woman boxers enjoyed a brief stint of success in the Asian Games, IBA World Boxing Championships and the Commonwealth Games. However, the male boxers have not been able to make a dent in the international stage. Moreover, when it comes to Olympic trials, both male and female boxers have failed cumulatively.

Read more: US Men’s Paris Olympic 2024 Golf Team Selection Sharpens post-Players Championship

List of boxers bound for the Paris Olympics 2024

After the Asian Games 2023, four Indian boxers have booked their spots for the Olympics. Unlike other sports, the pugilists have acquired themselves the quota. If the boxers in any categories are injured then in that case the boxers can be replaced.

Sl No.AthleteCategory
1Nikhat ZareenWomen’s 51 kg
2Lovlina BorgohainWomen’s 75 kg
3Preeti PawarWomen’s 54 kg
4Parveen HoodaWomen’s 57 kg

Even as Dunne exits from the setups the likes of head coach CA Kuttappa, L Devendro Singh, Torak Kharpran, Khimanand Belwal, DS Yadav, Pranamika Borah, Abhishek Sah and Poonam Sharma will continue to be part of the coaching structure.

Besides, the Boxing Federation of India has also added Jai Singh Patil and Durga Prasad Gandhamalla to the coaching roster. The Indian boxers will be given another chance to secure quotas at the second Olympic World Qualifiers that start from May 23 but the turbulence in the Indian boxing circuit does not paint a positive picture.

Read more: Paris Paralympics 2024: Aruna Tanwar books her ticket to Paris

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Soumya

Hi everyone, this is Soumyaroop Mukherjee. I am a student of journalism and a budding writer. The world of writing has always enthralled me beyond anything and I believe in the power of the pen which is always mightier than the sword. Talking about my interests, I like to write mostly in the sports genre which can include hardcore sports like cricket and football to adrenaline sports like F1 and NASCAR. Apart from this I also like poetry and web series in my off time.