Mary Kom: ‘I’m not scared to face Nikhat Zareen’

Defeating Nikhat Zareen in a possible trial bout would be a “formality,” says the six-time world champion.

File Photo: M. C. Mary Kom won the bronze medal at the recent World Championships in Ulan Ude, Russia.   -  PTI

M. C. Mary Kom has said she is not scared to face Nikhat Zareen if a trial bout is held to select the Indian squad for the Olympic qualifiers in February, 2020.

Mary Kom found herself embroiled in a controversy as Zareen appealed to Kiren Rijiju, Minister of State for Youth Affairs & Sports, for a trial in the 51kg category. The Boxing Federation of India had stated it intended to pick Mary Kom for the competition in China on the back of her recent performance at the World Championships, where she won a bronze medal.

“The decision has been taken by BFI. I can’t change the rule. I can just perform. Whatever they decide, I will go with that. I’m not scared to face her, I am fine with the trials,” said Mary Kom on the sidelines of a felicitation program here. “I have defeated her many times since SAF Games but she keeps challenging me. I mean, what is the point? It is just a formality. BFI also knows who can win a medal at Olympics.”

“People are jealous of me,” Mary Kom claimed.

‘To challenge is easy’

“It has happened with me in the past also. Perform on the ring, that is the real thing. BFI sends us for exposure trips so come back with a gold, prove yourself,” she said. “I am not against her. She might be good in future. Let her have the experience and focus on preparation for the highest level. I have been fighting for last 20 years. To challenge is easy but to perform is difficult.”

Related | Rijiju on Zareen plea: Will ask BFI to take the right decision

For the selection of the men’s team, the BFI had decided to send the World Championships medallists directly to the first Olympic qualifiers in China. For the women’s competition, however, the BFI in August stated it intended to send directly only the gold and silver medallists.

The federation has now decided to call a selection committee meeting next week to discuss Zareen’s plea.

Mary Kom said there should be gender equality in the selection criteria. “I don’t care about all this. Let BFI take the decision. There should be gender equality, can’t have separate rules for men and women,” she said.