Lovlina Borgohain

Indian women’s boxing team head coach Bhaskar Bhatt has moved out of his room at the Commonwealth games village here to accommodate Olympic bronze medallist Lovlina Borgohain’s personal coach Sandhya Gurung.

Bhatt has checked into a hotel nearby. Gurung has moved into Bhatt’s room in the Village. “I have moved to a hotel which is a 10-minute walk from the Village,” Bhatt was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

“I volunteered to do it (give his room to Gurung) as it’s all ‘ghar ka mamla’ and it’s best to sort out such things amongst ourselves.”

Bhatt, who took over the senior women’s head coach’s job last year, still has access to all the venues and the games village. The only change being that he won’t be able to stay in the games village at night. “I have all the required access, so it’s not a problem for me,” Bhatt said.

Under Bhatt, the Indian women’s team returned with three medals, including a gold, at the World Championship in May. On July 25, Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist Lovlina had claimed that her preparation was getting affected due to the ‘continuous harassment’ of her coaches.

Gurung was added to the Indian contingent just days before the games were to begin, which resulted in a delay in her accreditation.

On her arrival here on July 24, she was not allowed to enter the village as she did not have an accreditation, triggering a controversy. She was checked into a hotel where the extra officials were staying.

In a long social media post on July 25, Lovlina said she was feeling ‘mentally harassed’ as it was a struggle to get her coaches added to the squad. In its defence, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) said that as per rules only 33 per cent of the playing contingent is allowed as support staff.

The Indian boxing contingent has 12 playing members (8 men and 4 women) and as per rules, the number of support staff will be four, which includes travelling coaches. The quota was, however, increased to eight with the help of the IOA and Gurung received her accreditation on July 26.

Before taking over the charge of the senior side, Bhatt, who hails from Uttarakhand, worked with the youth team since 2017 and was an assistant coach in the senior women’s camp from 2005 to 2012.

Team doctor also makes way for Sandhya Gurung

The switch in his accreditation status means that team India doctor Karanjit Singh can no longer stay in the games village and be available for the boxers during training and competition. To attend competitions, he will have to get a day pass, which may not allow him access to the warm-up area.

The accreditation had to be switched to allow Lovlina’s personal coach inside the games village.

With boxing being a contact sport, there is a lot of scope for injuries and the presence of a doctor is a must. The Indian boxing team learned this lesson when boxer Satish suffered an injury and there was no doctor on hand to help him.

That is the reason why members of the boxing contingent are worried about the restricted access Karanjit will get in view of his altered accreditation status.

Boxing has been given extra support staff than permitted despite restrictions on the number of support personnel.

“Only 33 percent of the playing contingent is allowed as support staff which in BFI’s case for the 12 boxers (8 men and 4 women) stands to be 4 support staff, (including coaches) who were to travel with the team to Birmingham With IOA’s help the number of support staff went up from 4 to 8 for the entire contingent of 12 boxers,” the BFI mentioned in their statement previously.

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