Mohammed Ali Qamar, India’s first Commonwealth Games gold medallist in boxing, has been appointed as chief coach for the country’s women pugilists. With this new role, the 37-year-old has become the youngest person to get the top job.

Ali Qamar replaced veteran Shiv Singh as the women’s coach, PTI reported. Prior to this, Ali Qamar was an assistant coach in the national camp for more than a year.

Ali Qamar had created history in the 2002 Manchester edition of the Commonwealth Games, when he became the first Indian ever to win a Commonwealth Boxing Gold. The Arjuna awardee has also served in the Railways Sports Promotion Board’s women’s team for more than three years.

“It has come as a bit of surprise to me, I got to know only last night and I am thankful to the Boxing Federation of India for considering me worthy enough for the position,” said Ali Qamar.

“It is a challenging job, no doubt about that. Ek saal toh inko samajhne mein his nikal gaya (I have spent the last one year in understanding them). Now, I think I have got a hang of how things work,” Mohd Ali Qamar was quoted as saying

“The toughest aspect is the selection process. Although the coach hardly has a role in it, campers might feel that we can influence selectors. It is not easy to handle the heartbreaks and the perceived biases,” he added.

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Ali Qamar will be working alongside Italian coach Raffaele Bergamasco. Under him, seven assistant coaches will be working in his team, including Mary Kom‘s trainer Chhote Lal Yadav.

When asked about his job, Ali Qamar said, “I think the focus is also on getting younger coaches in the camp,” Timesnownews.com reported.

“I might have done something right, could be the feedback from the girls in the camp. Don’t know, all I can say is that I will give it my all,” said the diminutive former boxer.

Ali Qamar’s career didn’t last long due to a recurring nose injury.

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