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Army’s Narendra Rana set to be appointed head coach of Indian men’s boxing team

The Boxing Federation of India has decided to replace men’s head coach CA Kuttappa with Army Sports Institute’s Narendra Rana ahead of this month’s World Championships, which is also set to mark the end of High Performance Director Santiago Nieva’s tenure .

Former Asian Championship bronze medalist and four-time national champion, the 49-year-old Rana has been a veteran coach of the Services Sports Control Board.

He has coached World Championship medalists Amit Panghal and Manish Kaushik at different stages of their careers.

He is employed at the Army Sports Institute (ASI) in Pune, where he is credited with discovering stars such as M Suranjay Singh, Vikas Krishna, Shiv Thapa and L Devendro Singh.

Kuttappa confirmed the development to PTI.

“Yes, Mr. Rana will take over from me. I continue to be a part of the coaching staff though not as the head coach,” he said.

Indian boxing continues to churn out developments after the performance of the Tokyo Olympics, which was termed as overwhelming by the national federation. Already female high performance director Raphael Bergamasco has left after not getting an extension in her contract.

The head coach of the women’s team, Mohammad Ali Qamar, is also likely to be replaced.

India had the largest boxing team ever to compete at the Games in July–August – five men and four women, of whom only Lovlina Borgohain could finish on the podium with a bronze medal.

It was the country’s first boxing medal at the Games in nine years, but more was to be expected as the boxers showed up leading up to the showpiece.

Kuttappa took over as the head coach for the men in 2018. He is a Dronacharya awardee and has been part of the support staff during some of the major milestones in Indian boxing, including the 2008 Beijing Olympic bronze by Vijender Singh.

Niva was appointed in 2017 and has been given an extension to the World Championships to ensure continuity.

“On the whole, he will not continue after that,” a federation source said.

The mega-event will begin from October 24 in Belgrade, Serbia and the Indian team comprises Asian medalists Deepak Kumar (51kg), Shiv Thapa (63.5kg) and Sanjeet (92kg).

With just a few days left for the tournament, it is still unclear when the national camp will begin before the boxers leave on October 20.

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