Haridwar: After more than two decades of serving as India's men's boxing coach, Gurbax Singh Sandhu has been appointed head coach of the Indian women boxers as part of a major overhaul by the recently-formed Boxing Federation of India (BFI). Sandhu, assisted by 14 team members, will take charge of the national camp from December 10.
Sandhu, who has been the longest-serving men's national coach, has been handed the charge of women boxers, ending Anoop Kumar's long tenure. Sandhu was the chief coach when India won its maiden Olympic medal in boxing through Vijender Singh in 2008.
"It's a completely new arena for me, I am looking forward to it. Training girls will be a new challenge for me," Sandhu told PTI.
Former national champion Poonam Beniwal, who has been appointed the high performance manager-cum-coach, will work alongside Sandhu.
"We have decided to make these changes because there was a need to break the status quo. I don't want to comment on the performance of the previous coaches but I believe there was a need to make these changes," BFI president Ajay Singh told PTI.
Ali Qamar, the country's first Commonwealth Games gold-medallist, is par of the assistant staff. Qamar is currently with the Railways team, which finished second at the recent women's Nationals.
"As for the men boxers, we have zeroed in on names for that too and soon a new staff will be in place for them too," Ajay Singh said.
Dronacharya awardees Jaidev Bisht, Jagdish Singh and Sagar Mal Dhayal are also part of the assistant staff. Former Asian quarterfinalist Chhote Lal Yadav, who was part of M C Mary Kom's training staff has also been included.
Eight male coaches will be joined by an equal number of women coaches.
The list includes two-time World Championships silver-medallist N Usha, who was training the Railways boxers during the recent women's National Championship in Haridwar. Former World Championships bronze-medallist Renu Gora, who was of the training staff of reigning women's nationals champions Haryana, has also been included.