MC Marykom's happiest sporting moment was ruined when she learnt that despite her complaints of eve teasing and sexual advances at the Hissar Sports Authority of India (SAI) centre, officials chose to have the senior national women's boxing camp at the same facility. The ongoing camp is scheduled
to end later this month after which the ladies leave for the indoor Asian Games in Vietnam. Basking in the glory of having just been conferred the nation's highest sporting honour - the Khel Ratna - Marykom's smile disappeared when she learnt of the development.
"I am shocked to hear that they are hosting the camp at Hissar again despite us telling them not to do so. It is unsafe for women as the boys over there harass and misbehave with us." In fact, while Marykom was criticising the move at the ceremony government observer JL Pradhan tried to stop her from airing her views. Marykom refused to be silenced. When contacted, boxing coach Anup Kumar played down her complaint. "This is one of SAI's excellence centres with many female boxers training here. I have never got any complaint from anyone before.”
The boxing federation chief executive, AS Dagar, too dismissed Marykom's allegations. "In fact, we consulted both the coach and SAI before deciding the venue. We have the signatures of 33 boxers who have agreed to the venue."
The moot point here is that the nation's greatest ever woman pugilist is making a serious complaint. Instead of looking to address the issue, the powers-that-be would rather dismiss it out of hand. Sports Minister MS Gill chose to dismiss HT highlighting the plight of women boxers in National Institute of Sports, Patiala when they were reduced to being waiters for the visiting media. Hopefully he will not ignore this.
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