Mary Kom-Nikhat Zareen trial in December | Boxing News

Mary Kom-Nikhat Zareen trial in December | Boxing News

NEW DELHI: It’s official now. A selection trial between six-time world champion, MC Mary Kom, and promising boxer Nikhat Zareen will preferably be held in the last week of December to decide India’s representation in the 51kg category for the 2020 Tokyo Games qualifiers, sources in the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) and Sports Authority of India (SAI) told TOI on Friday.

The decision has been communicated to BFI president Ajay Singh through his office staff. Mary Kom and Zareen will also be notified soon, sources said. Lovlina Borgohain will also have to appear for a trial in the 69kg weight division. The decision was taken during a meeting on Thursday which was attended by BFI officebearers, SAI officials, including director general Sandeep Pradhan, a sports ministry official and the two foreign coaches, Raffaele Bergamasco and Santiago Nieva.

The meeting was held at the SAI headquarters. It’s learnt that a BFI office-bearer and two coaches told the officials that the selection policy to pick the Indian contingent for the first Olympic qualifier – to be held in Wuhan, China from February 3 to 14 – was drafted after a detailed discussion with everyone on board, including the president and his office, and the trial rules cannot be changed now.

TOI had, in its edition dated October 31, 2019, exclusively reported about the stand taken by BFI officials and its selection committee members where they unanimously called for a trial between Mary Kom and Nikhat. “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 Nikhat 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,” the source added.

The controversy erupted after Singh’s statement in the media that the rules should have been the same for both men and women pugilists and all the medal winners at the respective Worlds should automatically be nominated for Wuhan qualifiers. The rule stated that only the gold and silver medallists at the women’s Worlds held in Ulan-Ude, Russia will be selected for qualifiers and the bronze winner will have to appear in trials. Mary Kom and Lovlina won bronze at the Worlds.

Mary Kom, 36, had earlier launched a tirade against Nikhat after the 23-year-old approached the sports minister Kiren Rijiju demanding the trial. “Who is she, I don’t know her. What’s her standing (in front of me)?” Mary had said.

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