Abhinav Bindra, India’s only individual Olympic gold medallist, on Thursday backed Nikhat Zareen’s demand for a trial bout against celebrated boxer MC Mary Kom before India’s squad for next year’s Olympic Qualifiers is decided.
While I have all the respect for Marykom , Fact is ,an athletes life is an offering of proof. Proof that we can be as good as yesterday. Better than yesterday. Better than tomorrows man /woman. In sport, yesterday NEVER counts. https://t.co/B0MBT3HFU0
— Abhinav Bindra OLY (@Abhinav_Bindra) October 17, 2019
Zareen, a former junior world champion, was refused a trial by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) for the World Championships.
In a tweaking of the rules after Mary Kom won a bronze medal at the World Championships, the Indian federation has decided that all medal-winners from that event will get an automatic spot in the Olympic qualifiers. The decision, effectively, shuts the door on Nikhat, who is in the same weight category as Mary Kom.
Zareen has written to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju demanding a “fair chance” to make it to the team for the Olympic qualifiers to be held in February next year.
In her letter, Zareen stated that if legendary Olympian Michael Phelps is needed to qualify for the Olympics every time through trials, no athlete in the world should demand that she get an automatic spot.
“While I have all the respect for Mary Kom, the fact is that an athlete’s life is an offering of proof. Proof that we can be as good as yesterday. Better than yesterday. Better than tomorrows man /woman. In sport, yesterday NEVER counts,” Bindra wrote on his Twitter handle on Thursday.
Mary Kom (51kg) claimed her eighth world medal at the recently-concluded championships in Russia. The previous decision from the BFI had been to give direct selection to the Olympic qualifiers to only to the gold and silver winners from the World Championships.
— Nikhat Zareen (@nikhat_zareen) October 15, 2019
Zareen had lost to Mary Kom at the semifinal of the India Open in May this year. However, the BFI had denied her a trial before the World Championship as well, with Mary Kom threatening to not turn up if the federation went ahead with the trials.
(With PTI inputs)