After a war of words last month, Nikhat Zareen is finally set to have a selection trial against six-time world champion, MC Mary Kom in the last week of December to decide India’s representation in the 51 kg category for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifiers.
As per a report by Times of India, the decision has been informed to Boxing Federation of India’s (BFI) president, Ajay Singh through his office staff on Friday. Both the boxers will also be notified soon.
The decision was taken after a meeting at the Sports Authority of India (SAI) headquarters in New Delhi on Thursday, which involved BFI officebearers, SAI officials including director-general Sandeep Pradhan, an official from Sports Ministry and the two foreign coaches, Raffaele Bergamasco and Santiago Nieva.
According to sources, it’s learnt that the selection policy to pick the Indian contingent for Olympic qualifier, to be held in Wuhan, China from February 3, 2020, to February 14, 2020, was drafted after a unanimous decision, having the support of the president and the office.
“We have stuck to our rules. There won’t be any going back on it and everything is now clear, no confusion at all. The trial will preferably happen after the Indian Boxing League (IBL), which is scheduled from December 2 to 21, 2019,” the source told Times of India.
The furore took place after Singh said that all the medal winners at the World Championships should automatically be nominated for Wuhan qualifiers, which effectively shut the door on Nikhat. The rule stated though, that only the gold and silver medallists will be selected for qualifiers and the bronze winners, namely Mary Kom and Lovlina Borgohain, will have to appear for trials.
Lovlina will also now have to appear for a trial in the 69kg weight category.
Because of this, the 23-year-old wrote to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju demanding a “fair chance” to make it to the team back on October 17. Following which, the experienced Mary Kom had launched a harangue against Nikhat asking, “Who is Nikhat Zareen, I don’t know her,” in an interview with Republic TV.