Mary Kom Asks ‘Who is Nikhat Zareen’, Says ‘Ready For a Trial’
Mary Kom (51kg) found herself embroiled in a controversy with Zareen demanding a trial bout against her.
A day after boxer Nikhat Zareen wrote to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju asking for a fair opportunity, Mary Kom on Saturday, 19 October, said she does not know Nikhat Zareen.
“Who is Nikhat Zareen, I don’t know her. I am really shocked by all this. I have won eight World Championship medals, including six gold,” Mary Kom told Republic TV.
“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," said Mary Kom.
Mary Kom (51kg) found herself embroiled in a controversy with Zareen demanding a trial bout against her before the Indian squad for next year's Olympic qualifiers is decided.
This was after the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) stated that it intends to pick six-time world champion Mary Kom (51kg) for the event in China on the back of her recent bronze medal winning performance at the World Championships in Russia.
“I am not scared to face Nikhat Zareen,” Mary Kom said.
She further added that it would just be a "formality" to beat her in the trials for the Olympic qualifiers.
"The decision has been taken by BFI. I can't change the rule. I can just perform. Whatever they decide, I will go with that. I'm not scared to face her, I am fine with the trials," said Mary Kom on the sidelines of a felicitation program in New Delhi.
“I have defeated her many times since SAF Games but she keeps challenging me. I mean, what is the point? It is just a formality. BFI also knows who can win a medal at Olympics.” Mary Kom said “people are jealous of me”.
"It has happened with me in the past also. Perform on the ring, that is the real thing. BFI sends us for exposure trips so comeback with a gold, prove yourself," she said.
“I am not against her. She might be good in future, let her have the experience and focus on preparation for the highest level. I have been fighting for last 20 years. To challenge is easy but to perform is difficult,” added Mary.
For selection of men's team, BFI had decided that the medallists of the World Championships will be sent directly to the first Olympic qualifiers to be held in China.
In women’s competition, BFI had said in August that only the gold and silver winners at the World Championships in Russia would be selected directly for the Olympic qualifiers in February.
However, BFI now has decided to call a selection committee meeting next week to discuss Zareen's plea.
Mary Kom said gender equality must be feature in the selection criteria.
"I don't care about all this. Let BFI take the decision. There should be gender equality, can't have separate rules for men and women," Mary concluded.
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