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Budding boxers take to online coaching amidst lockdown


New Delhi

Boxer Alfiya Khan Pathan was looking for ways to train during the lockdown but it was difficult to hit a routine with her academy in Nagpur shut. The 16-year-old, an Asian junior champion in the 80-plus weight category, was among the many youth and junior boxers across the country facing the challenge of maintaining fitness and learning skills in the absence of regular training. Their parents were worried their kids were not able to pursue their passion.

The online ‘Athletes Coaching and Education programme’ which began a month ago has since helped these young boxers—enrolled with Sports Authority of India centres and Khelo India academies—do fitness drills everyday from home. Around 600 boxers have been training with coaches at the National Boxing Academy, Rohtak taking the sessions.

“I was worried how to do my exercise and keep myself fit. For the last one month, I have been able to do training regularly thanks to our coaches who train us online during the lockdown period,” said Alfiya, who won gold in the Asian junior championships in the UAE last year.

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju addressed the boxers on Saturday and said it was good to see them motivated. “This is a challenging period and you are making the most of it. Parents are supporting you. When lockdown ends and competition starts, it will help. I am sure I will be able to meet our youth boxers soon,” Rijiju said.

“I can see so many promising boxers have joined us from across the country. It is a great opportunity in these difficult times—the best boxing facility coming to our doorstep. Other countries started online education a long time back. This is just the beginning for India. It will give a new direction to our young boxers who have great potential. India can be a boxing powerhouse,” said Rijiju.

Boxing Federation of India president Ajay Singh said it is a uniquely designed programme where parents also participated and learnt. “Every adversity presents an opportunity. The programme has allowed young boxers the access and knowledge to good technique. All these sessions are being compiled as training videos for a wider reach,” he said.

Boxing legend MC Mary Kom had a word of inspiration for the youngsters. “Our boxers are doing very well. It is a difficult situation for everyone. I am a wife and mother and it is not easy to maintain (form) and perform for so long. But I have continued because I am inspired. I wish our young boxers are also inspired and make the country proud,” she said.

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