Nikhat Zareen writes to Kiren Rijiju, gets Abhinav Bindra’s support
Nikhat Zareen on Thursday wrote to sports minister Kiren Rijiju and requested him to look into the issue of Boxing Federation of India (BFI) tweaking its selection rules and deciding to not hold selection trials in 51kg for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualification event.
The BFI had initially said that among women only gold and silver medallists from the Worlds will get an automatic berth for the Olympics qualifier in February. But later BFI president Ajay Singh said the selection panel should consider exempting bronze medallists, including Mary Kom in 51kg, from trials.
“Sir, I have reliable informed that the rule is now being changed again to accommodate Mary Kom as the Indian candidate without a trial. I look for no favours. Just fair play. And whether Mary Kom or I or any other boxer qualifies after the trial, we can at least sleep at night knowing that every candidate got the best possible opportunity to make India proud at the Olympics (sic),” Zareen wrote.
BFI selection panel had also exempted Mary Kom from trials for the Worlds on August 6-7 after her last-minute request. “I have been inspired by Mary Kom since I was a teenager. The best way I can do justice to this inspiration is to strive to be as great a boxer as her. Mary Kom is too big a legend to need to hide from competition. If 23-time gold medallist Michael Phelps had to qualify every time for the Olympics, the rest of us must do the same,” she said.
Shooter Abhinav Bindra tweeted: “While I have all the respect for Mary Kom, fact is an athlete’s life is an offering of proof. Proof that we can be as good as yesterday. Better than yesterday, Better than tomorrows man/woman. In sports, yesterday NEVER counts.”
BFI executive director RK Sacheti said, “Trials will be in December end. As the president said we will call a selection committee meeting and discuss the matter further if required.”