Nikhat Zareen calls for fair, televised Olympic trials

Despite the speculation over the 51kg Olympic qualifiers trials, Mary Kom pulled out of the bout against Nikhat Zareen citing back injury

The highly anticipated bout between Mary Kom (L) and Nikhat Zareen in the IBL was cancelled.   -  Ritu Raj Konwar

Nikhat Zareen on Tuesday demanded a fair Olympic selection trials and asked the national federation to telecast the fight live after her much-anticipated showdown against M. C. Mary Kom in the Indian Boxing League was cancelled.

With three spots already sealed for the Olympic trials, Nikhat’s chances of securing the fourth and final place depended on how she fares in the IBL bout against Mary Kom. With the fight not happening, she has demanded a fair decision from the Boxing Federation of India (BFI).

At the trial scheduled for December 27 and 28 here, each weight category will have four contenders.

Three places are already secured in the 51kg women’s division after Jyoti Gulia and Ritu Grewal won the gold and silver in the women’s national in Kannur while Mary Kom is assured of a spot after she won the bronze at the women’s World Championships in Ulan-Ude, Russia in October.

The toss up now for the fourth spot is between Nikhat and Pinki Rani.

Nikhat said she is disappointed because the BFI had assured her the spot if she fared well against Mary Kom on Tuesday.

“I was looking forward to the bout with Mary Kom but unfortunately it’s not happening today. So I have to fight the reserve boxer — Darshana Dutt. I was all ready for this bout but at the last moment I got to know that she is not playing,” Nikhat said.

“It was an opportunity for me to showcase my boxing skills, people could know that Nikhat Zareen is there and she has challenged Mary Kom.

“I wanted to play the league just because everyone would have seen the bout on TV and know me. Now I have to prepare for the trails but I want the trials to be televised live on TV and not in close doors so that people can know what happened in the bout,” she added.

When asked that the trails will be videographed by the federation, Nikhat said: “Yes, it will be videographed but it will be under BFI’s custody. I am not worried but still someone where down the line there remains a doubt whether it will be a fair decision. Being a boxer and after going through such troubles you can’t easily trust anyone.

“I am bit worried whether the decision will be fair or not so that’s why I want the trails should be televised live or there is live streaming so that everyone can know how fair decision was it,” he said.

Nikhat claimed that she couldn’t participate in the nationals as the BFI wanted her to play the IBL.

“BFI wanted me to play the league so I didn’t play the nationals and that’s why I am right now the fourth choice boxer for the trails in 51kg. I was told by the BFI to play the league,” said Nikhat, who is the skipper of North East Rhinos franchise.

Nikhat said such uncertainties affects an athletes preparation.

“I got a mail from BFI stating that mine and Mary Kom’s trial will happen. Then they said that Nikhat will have to fight and win against Mary Kom in the league to get the fourth spot in the trials,” she claimed.

“This of course affects my preparations. I just want the authorities to show me a clear path. If they say that your trails will be on that day then I can focus on that. But in between you say that you have to perform well in IBL, then only we will think about whether to give you the fourth spot in the trails or not is not fair.”

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