Kiren Rijiju on Nikhat Zareen plea: Will ask BFI to take the best decision

A minister should not be involved in the selection of players as sports federations are autonomous as per Olympic charter, says Kiren Rijiju.

Nikhat Zareen has asked to be given a selection trial for the 51kg weight category.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Friday responded to boxer Nikhat Zareen's plea for a trial for the Asian Olympic qualifier, saying he would convey her grievance to the Boxing Federation of India (BFI).

In reply to Nikhat's letter for 'fair play', Rijiju took to the Twitter to send the message but was cautious enough not to overstep his limits.

"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," Rijiju tweeted.

Nikhat replied, "Thank you so much sir for your immediate action. I just hope favouritism and nepotism doesn't take place for athletes who all work very hard to bring laurels for our country."

Nikhat's letter to Rijiju, seeking a trial in 51kg — which involves six-time World champion and London Olympic bronze medallist M.C. Mary Kom — for February's Olympic qualifier in Wuhan (China) received massive support on social media. Some top athletes, including Abhinav Bindra and Shiva Keshavan, lent support to it.

 

Earlier, the BFI had decided that all male medallists and all female gold and silver winners in World Championships would get direct entry to the Olympic qualifier.

According to a BFI source, the reason for framing such a policy, smacking of disparity, was due to the reason that some women weights in the World Championships were less competitive (primarily due to lesser number of entries) than the men’s weights.

After two Indians, Mary Kom (51kg) and Lovlina Borgohain (69kg), returned bronze medals in Olympic weight classes in the Worlds, BFI president Ajay Singh said, like the male boxers, all female medallists could be given direct entry to the Wuhan event.

Nikhat, who could not take part in the 51kg trials for the World Championships in August due to the last-minute cancellation of the event following Mary Kom’s request for an exemption, wrote to the Sports Minister requesting him to intervene and ensure a fair trial for the Olympic qualifier.