- Indian boxer Nikhat Zareen requested the sports ministry for a fair chance to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as she felt Mary Kom was selected ahead of her without having to face any qualifiers.
- Indian sports minister Kiren Rijiju requested ministers not to be involved in
- Mary Kom became the most decorated boxer in World Boxing Championships by winning her record 8th medal.
Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju has responded to boxer Nikhat Zareen’s plea requesting a fair chance to be a part of the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The minister has asserted support to Zarin and also requested all sports ministers not to get involved in the selection processes.
Mary Kom was given a direct entry and was exempted from a qualifying match which Nikhat felt was against the rules. Her ask for help also came because she felt there should be transparency in the selection process for big events.
Mary Kom had recently participated in the Boxing World Championships at Ulan-Ude in Russia, where she won a bronze medal.
Kiren Rijiju’s answer to Nikhat’s dilemma
Indian boxer Nikhat Zareen posted a letter on Twitter pleading the Sports Ministry asking them to give her a fair chance to participate for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. She mentioned in her letter that the Boxing Federation of India’s rule exempts gold and silver medalists from a qualifying match to participate at the World Championships. However, her concern was that Mary Kom, who had won a bronze medal at the World Championships was given direct entry to participate, which was unfair and against the rules.
Responding to this, Indian sports minister Kiren Rijiju Twitted back to her with his support and a request to all sports ministers that they should not be involved in the selection processes.
I'll surely convey to Boxing Federation to take the best decision keeping in mind the best interest of the NATION, SPORTS & ATHLETES. Although, Minister should not be involved in the selection of the players by the Sports Federations which are autonomous as per OLYMPIC CHARTER https://t.co/GqIBdtWRMp
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) October 18, 2019
Nikhat also said that, if the 23-time gold medalist Micheal Phelps would have to re-qualify in order to be able to participate at the Olympics, then every sportsperson should do the same.
“More recently I won the silver medal at the Thailand Open Championships in 2019 and defeated the current world champion Aitbayeva Liliya at an AIBA event in 2018 in Belgrade. On the 6th and 7th of August 2019, I was invited to a trial in Delhi for selection for the World Championship. To my utter dismay, the trial was cancelled, and Mary Kom was sent,” said Nikhat in her statement.
At the World Championships at Ulan-Ude, Mary Kom became the first boxer in the competition’s history to win 8 medals. However, she was knocked out of the tournament in the semifinals which saw her win a bronze medal. This feat is not small as it puts India’s name in the all-time best records in boxing history.