Judging by what transpired at the recent qualifiers for the Pan American Boxing qualifiers for 2011 where St Lucia lost all six bouts, national boxers would be well advised to bring along oxygen tanks and increase their lung capacity when competing in high altitude countries.
At a recent press conference at Olympic House at Barnard Hill, while evaluating the performance of the six boxers who competed in Ecuador, Team Manager Tennyson Glasgow said: “The weather was definitely a factor, we really faced some cold conditions and also there was also the altitude. Several factors played a major role in regard to the performance of our boxers.”
During a question and answer session, Glasgow was asked just how the difficult conditions affected the boxers. He replied: “We were faced with a mixture of weather conditions hot and cold. Also, the altitude factor in terms of sea level in Ecuador made it very difficult for the boxers to breathe.”
He did say the boxers were in good physical shape went they left here, however, getting acclimatized in terms of the altitude and coldness apparently took its toll.
Lyndell Marcellin and Ryan Charles who were both preset at the press conference, gave their take on the competition.
Marcellin who goes by the nickname “The Russian” said: “I felt very tired in the ring, I could not breathe properly. Sometimes I had to stop and catch my breath.”
Charles who is St Lucian and lives in the United Kingdom, was a more vocal in his analysis. “It was not the conditioning but more the breathing. In Ecuador you get short of breath very quickly. When we first got there, we noticed that just breathing normally was a struggle. We needed at least two weeks to get acclimatized.”
Charles feels St Lucia boxers were just as good as their opponents, but could not contend with the adverse conditions. He thought his teammates fought with heart, passion and were determined to win.
In his case if given another chance, Charles is confident he would prevail over his opponent who he said “was not better than me but more prepared.”
Boxing Coach Renaldo Toledo Calvario emphasized that in order for St Lucian boxers to do well at high level competitions, they need more preparation time and must compete outside St Lucia on a regular basis.
He pointed out that St Lucia’s preparation for the Ecuador was only 45 percent, given the fact they only had two weeks to get ready. While St Lucia arrived just days before the competition, it’s a fact other countries were there well in advance.
In retrospect it’s easy to ask why the coach didn’t get his boxers prepared well in advance for Ecuador.
Without getting into specifics, Calvario pointed out that he worked with the time line he was given and felt financing to properly prepare the team may have been a problem.
He’s right! It’s not only the St Lucia Amateur Boxing Association in this predicament. Talk to the other sporting federations and they will tell you, proper preparation for a high
level completion often involves money,
which these days is hard to come by.