India's first foreign coach for women boxers -- Stephane Cottalorda -- prefers to call his new job a mission instead of assignment and says he has nothing but Olympic glory on mind for the country despite the many challenges.
Frenchman Cottalorda will be landing in India next week after his originally planned arrival -- June first week -- was delayed owing to paperwork.
The 41-year-old, who is a member of the European Boxing Confederation's coaches commission, spoke to PTI in an e-mail interview and shared his immediate plans for India.
"I was interested in this mission because the objective is to prepare the women's team for Olympics. Indian boxing is developing well and the proof of it is that India will organise the youth and junior World Championships for women this year," Cottalorda said, referring to the event scheduled in Guwahati in November.
Besides being an experienced coach for women boxers in France, which earned him a three-star rating from the International Boxing Association (AIBA), Cottalorda has also been a certified coach in the AIBA Pro-Boxing and the World Series of Boxing.
He Will arrive to high expectations and will have just a few months at hand before the country's senior women boxers compete in the Asian Championships in Vietnam come November.
Impressed by all that he knows about women's boxing in India, Cottalorda said given the sheer size of the country, it won't be too much of a task to find talent.
"The Indian women boxers have brought back medals for the country and you had a very big renowned champion in the world -- M C Mary Kom. India is a big nation as far as boxing in Asia goes," he said.
"My immediate plan is going to be to see as many boxers as possible to get an estimate about the general level of girls. I also need to know the other coaches who will work with me and the Indian system," he said.
Once he is done familiarising himself with his wards as well as co-workers, Cottalorda said he would be ready with a detailed plan to ensure that India makes up for the barren run at the 2016 Olympics, where not a single woman boxer could even qualify.
"After gathering my estimates, I shall get an idea where the Indian girls stand in international competitions against other girls. With that idea of their strengths and the weaknesses, I will draw up a more precise plan," he said.
Cottalorda said getting this job is also a dream realised for him as he had always wanted to work in different countries.
"It is going to be unique and enriching experience for me and my family. I wished to work and live abroad and it has come true for me with this position in India. It will be a challenge to adapt myself to another continent and to win medals at big competitions," he said.
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