New Delhi: Cuban boxing coach Blas Iglesias Fernandez was pleasantly surprised to know that he is the first foreign coach in India to receive the prestigious Dronacharya Award for his persevering contribution to boxing.
"As you know this honour was only given to Indians, therefore I never expected to receive it and was very surprised to know that I would be in the reckoning and be approved for it," said the Cuban after the sports ministry announced his name Friday.
"I starting working with the Indian team 22 years ago. It has been a long journey but a rewarding one and being the first foreign coach to receive it makes it all that more special. I am thankful to the ministry, IABF (Indian Amateur Boxing Federation) and everyone for their support," expressed Fernandez for receiving India`s most prestigious award for coaches.
"It`s a great honour for me to have been nominated and approved for this award. I am very happy to have received this recognition. The Dronacharya Award is a very prestigious honour and I am proud to be included in the list of some great names," added Fernandez, who is currently at the National Institute of Sports, Patiala.
Fernandez has been associated with Indian boxing for more than two decades. His stint started in 1990 and ever since he has been working in tandem with chief national coach G.S. Sandhu. Together the two have played an important role behind the paradigm shift witnessed over the years in Indian boxing.