MC Mary Kom has been included in the upcoming Boxing World Championship which will be held in Russia from October 3 to 13. Mary Kom, the six-time World Champion, will compete in the 51kg category but the decision has not gone down well with Nikhat Zareen, who was hoping to challenge Mary Kom in the 51kg trials after clinching silver in a tournament in Thailand recently. Zareen has written a letter to the Boxing Federation of India and has alleged that she was 'stopped from competing' in a scheduled trial bout.
“To my utter surprise and disappointment, I was informed just before the bouts were supposed to start by the Chairman Selection Committee, Mr Rajesh Bhandari that my bout will not happen today & there are some internal discussions happening to ensure I’m protected for future & avoid getting exposed at a young age. I’m really surprised by this action as I have already participated in World Championships in 2016 and if I was fine then, so in 2019, I surely cannot be young and this cannot be the reason,” Zareen wrote.
The main gripe of contention is that Mary Kom was selected without a trial. The chairman of selectors, Rajesh Bhandari, said Mary Kom had beaten Zareen in the India Open and was consistently better than the others.
"She beat Nikhat in the India Open (semifinals) and is consistently better than others in the national camp as well. Nikhat is also a brilliant boxer and she will have her chances in the time to come. But right now, it’s a call based purely on performance and experience. We got a representation from Mary Kom’s coach (Chhotelal Yadav) and after considering it, we felt that Mary Kom had done enough to merit selection without trials. The BFI has been consulted on this matter," Bhandari said in an interaction with PTI.
While Mary Kom was selected without a trial, the trials will continue for other weight categories till Thursday. Zareen only asked for unfair practises to stop.
"I only request that a fair trial should happen for all boxers under your leadership. If there is a rule for all of us, it needs to be consistent for all of us irrespective of whatever stature a particular boxer is (sic). Unfair practises should not be used for boxers trying to avoid participating in the trials. I look forward to your immediate intervention and restoring the faith of every boxer in India," Zareen said.