Krishan, who for the first time revealed his several run-ins with Nieva during the latter’s five-year long association with Indian boxing starting March 2017, expressed happiness over the development and hoped the country’s boxers would now be able to reclaim their lost glory which they had enjoyed during the time of Gurbax Singh Sandhu as the chief coach of the men’s team.
“I am happy that Nieva is leaving. It should have been done long ago, but finally it’s happening. His exit will bring Indian boxing on the right track. For the men’s boxing team’s disappointing performance at the Tokyo Olympics, where none of us could reach the medal round, Nieva has to partly share the blame. He took us to Italy (Assisi) for an exposure-cum-training trip ahead of the Tokyo Olympics when none of the boxers from the Italian men’s boxing team could actually qualify for the Games! I never understood the logic behind taking the team to Italy for training sessions when he could have actually planned for trips to Mexico, USA, Cuba or Azerbaijan which are the boxing powerhouses,” Krishan told TOI in an interview.
Krishan, a three-time Asian Games medallist, including a gold at the 2010 Guangzhou edition, offered examples to explain his deep reservation about Nieva‘s unscientific training methods. “Tell me, who would offer pizza to athletes training for the Olympics? He would. It happened so many times in Italy. At a time when the boxers were either cutting down or maintaining their weights for the Olympics, Nieva was offering them pizzas twice a week as a meal. And this, right before the Games. There was no Indian food available for us. In a month, the boxers were having pizzas at least 9-10 times. I protested and confronted him several times over the food issue. Thankfully, I had the luxury of my own car in Italy to go out and eat some Indian food,” the 2018 Gold Coast CWG gold medallist said.
Talking about Nieva’s poor skill set, Krishan, who is rehabilitating from a career-threatening right shoulder injury since the Tokyo Games, explained that his weight training methods and muscle endurance exercises were old fashioned. “I don’t think Nieva was the right person to guide the Indian boxers to win medals at the Olympics. He would tell boxers to go for explosive training like the ones followed in weightlifting or the high jump and discus throw events. In boxing, it’s more about building your muscle endurance. I stopped training under him after one or two sessions because I didn’t see any benefit. His training didn’t contribute to increasing the boxers’ power and strength. Also, he would rely more on explaining through videos on YouTube rather than introducing his own training methods,” he said.