Two days after boxer Nikhat Zareen wrote to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju demanding a trial bout against MC Mary Kom before India’s squad for Tokyo Olympic qualifiers is decided, the Olympic medallist has hit back saying she’s shocked and the decision should be taken by the boxing federation.
“Who is Nikhat Zareen, I don’t know her,” Kom said in an interview to Republic TV.
“I am really shocked by all this. I have won eight World Championship medals, including six gold. Let the Boxing Federation of India decide whom they want. How can she cry like this? She cannot lobby to get a place in the Indian team. This is not done,” Kom said.
— Karishma Singh (@karishmasingh22) October 19, 2019
The Boxing Federation of India made changes to their previous decision, according to which players winning gold and silver medals at the World Championship would get direct entry to the Olympic qualifiers, in order to accommodate Mary Kom.
The body is reportedly set to send bronze medallists as well now. Mary Kom bagged a bronze at the recent World’s Women Boxing Championship in Russia.
The decision irked Asian Championships bronze medallist Zareen, who has not been able to get a chance to prove her mettle because she is in the same weight category as Kom.
This is not the first time Zareen is being deprived of a chance to qualify for an international event. The 23-year-old’s bout against Mary was cancelled before the World Championships as well.
Abhinav Bindra, India’s only individual Olympic gold medallist, had backed Zareen’s demand for a trial bout against Kom.
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
Reacting to Bindra’s statement, Mary Kom said,” I know who is behind all this. They are from JSW and I would like to tell Abhinav Bindra that you don’t know anything about boxing and you please stay focused on your shooting. I have been doing boxing for over a decade now and for how long I will continue giving trials. Don’t my records and medals speak for me?”
The celebrated boxer had beaten Zareen in Indian Open earlier this year where the latter settled for a bronze medal.
Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has said that the government would not interfere in selection matters and advised the BFI to be transparent in its resolution of the dispute between the two boxers.