Olympic Qualifiers: Mary Kom to take on Nikhat Zareen in trials

Zareen, a gold-medallist from the prestigious Strandja Memorial in Bulgaria, defeated Gulia, in a unanimous verdict in the opening bout.

Indian boxer Nikhat Zareen in action.   -  FILE PHOTO/ RITU RAJ KONWAR

MC Mary Kom and Nikhat Zareen stayed on course for a showdown and a ticket to the Olympic Qualifiers, winning their respective bouts during the selection trials at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium on Friday.

While Nikhat won against Jyoti Gulia, Mary outpunched Ritu Grewal in the opening bouts of the 51kg, both registering unanimous victories from the huge 10-judge panel. The final bout to decide who would represent India at the Olympic Qualifiers will be held in Wuhan, China, in February.

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These were two of the five bouts that were unanimously awarded to the winner with the other five bouts registering split decisions. The big surprises were former World Championships medallist Saweety Boora, expected to give a tough fight to Pooja Rani in the final trials but going down 1-9 to Nupur in the 75kg and youth World champion Sakshi Chaudhary getting past Asian Championships bronze medallist Manisha Moun in the 57kg 7-3.

The 2016 World Championships silver medallist Sonia Lather got the better of her namesake and runner-up at the 2018 edition, Sonia Chahal, by an identical margin.

No pressure

“There is no pressure to win or anything. For a long time, I have been fighting to have this bout and now it will happen tomorrow so I am just waiting for it and looking forward to giving my 100 per cent,” Nikhat said after her bout.

“There is no plan but I will try not to repeat mistakes from the India Open. Whatever the decision is tomorrow, I am well-prepared for it. I will only try to avoid too much of clinching like it happened in Mary didi’s bout today and there is clean, fair and beautiful boxing,” the 23-year old added.

The results: 52kg: Nikhat zareen bt Jyoti Gulia 10-0, Mary Kom bt Ritu Grewal 10-0; 57kg: Sakshi Chaudhary bt Manisha Moun 7-3, Sonia Lather bt Sonia Chahal 7-3; 60kg: Simranjit Kaur bt Pavitra 10-0, Sarita Devi bt Shashi Chopra 9-1; 69kg: Lalita bt Meena Rani 9-1, Lovlina Borgohain bt Anjali 10-0; 75kg: Pooja Rani bt Indraja 10-0, Nupur bt Saweety Boora 9-1.