In a major turn of events, a trial between 6-time world boxing champion MC Mary Kom and young pugilist Nikhat Zareen will be used to decide India’s representative for the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers in the 51kg category next year.
According to a report by The Times of India, the important decision was taken after a meeting that involved officials of Boxing Federation of India (BFI) as well as members from the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Sports Ministry as well as foreign coaches Raffaele Bergamasco and Santiago Nievam.
Zareen had been demanding a fair trial ever since Mary Kom’s return from the women’s world championships in Russia earlier this year. The veteran pugilist had clinched a bronze medal there.
However, as per the rules set by BFI, only the gold and silver medalists at the women’s championships are entitled to direct entry for the qualifiers.
Those failing to do so are required to appear for trials.
However, a controversy erupted after BFI president Ajay Singh spoke of the same rules for men and women boxers. Mary Kom too backed his statement.
Nonetheless, during the meeting on Thursday, it was agreed that it was too late for any changes to occur in the rules now with the trial to begin in December.
“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,” a source informed, “There’s an interesting point. Bergamasco told the gathering that Mary Kom never had a problem giving a trial against Zareen and all this drama happened following the BFI president’s statement. Mary Kom started backing his statement. In fact, coaches stated that they were always in favour of a trial,” TOI quoted a source as saying.