Boxers' health and safety takes priority

National boxing coach Reynold Cox - Sureash Cholai
National boxing coach Reynold Cox - Sureash Cholai

NATIONAL BOXING coach, Reynold Cox believes the health and safety of TT’s Olympic hopefuls is of greater importance than the amount of training hours they put in behind closed doors.

The seven male and two female pugilists have been conducting personal training at home and are also using this downtime to build on their mental strengths. Even though Cox sees indoor training as essential, he reiterated the importance of his athletes practicing social distancing and abiding by the Government’s stay-at-home order to ensure they maintain full health.

“I’m not worried about the new date of the Olympic Games,” said Cox recently. “I just want the athletes to stay safe and stay healthy. For me, practicing these traits is more important than training at the time.”

The squad – Nigel Paul (91+kg), Cam Awesome (91kg – US-based), Andrew Fermin (81kg), Aaron Prince (75kg), Tyrone Thomas (69kg), Michael Alexander (64kg), Anthony Joseph (56kg), Tianna Guy (56kg) and Jewel Lambert (48kg – US-based) – was preparing for their first of two Olympic qualifiers in Argentina from March 26–April 3.

Since the postponement of events and the closure of all sporting facilities throughout TT to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the boxers have been utilising their in-home gyms to keep fit during the pandemic.

Cox, however, has been using video-conferencing app Zoom to host physical training sessions with the athletes. He remains quietly confident that he would soon be able to pay individual visits to his athletes to ensure the right techniques and practices are being done at home. According to him, these personalised sessions could only be implemented if there is a shift in the Government-imposed restrictions.

“We’re hoping to begin some individual at-home training but that’s if the social distancing restrictions are lifted. If we can at least get them to our in-house gym. For the possible individual sessions, I hope to visit them, make sure they’re doing the correct thing and work on their technique. We’re hoping for May/June,” Cox added.

Of the nine fighters, two – Awesome and Lambert – are based in the US. The national coach has been in contact with the pair, who remain safely tucked away at their respective homes conducting indoor training.

Meanwhile, the second and final Olympic qualifier was scheduled to take place in Europe later this year. However, its participants are to be decided from the results of the first qualifier. As it stands, this European qualifier is also expected to be postponed.

Cox however, kept positive, and hoped to use this year’s Caribbean Boxing Championships (late 2020) as a gauge to measure his athlete’s progression over the coming months. A lift in restrictions would in fact go a long way to provide a better evaluation, according to the national coach.

“We’re just trying to keep the athletes focused, especially mentally, because this is where the most emphasis must be placed during this time. The Caribbean Games is scheduled for later down in the year and we are intent on retaining our overall title which we won last year,” he pointed out.

Additionally, Olympic hopeful Alexander, posted some inspirational words to his Facebook page on Easter Sunday (April 12) as he took his time away from intense training to reflect on the current medical crisis facing TT and the world at large. He also assured supporters of his commitment by posting several videos of himself training indoors within recent days.

“This is a tough time; I pray you are all at home with your families and loved ones where you feel safe. During this time I will continue to work on myself, both physically but emotionally. We are all faced with the mental weight that may seem intense but remember you are not alone in this. We are all in this together. Let’s learn to live a little more, laugh a little more, smile a little more and love a whole lot more with the people in our lives. Thinking of you guys always. Keep up the positivity,” he posted.


"Boxers’ health and safety takes priority"

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