NEW DELHI, December 22: Nikhat Zareen’s wish to compete against MC Mary Kom could finally come true as she has been named in the list of boxers who will take part in the selection trials for the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers, scheduled to be held in Wuhan, China from February 3 to 14.
Nikhat will first fight Jyoti Gulia and Mary Kom will take on Ritu Grewal. If Nikhat and Mary Kom win their respective bouts, the two will face off in a final trial match which will decide India’s participation in the 51kg category in the Olympic qualifiers. The selection trials will be held at the Indira Gandhi stadium on December 27-28.
TOI had exclusively reported in its edition dated December 19 that Nikhat has been assured of her place in the trials as a fourth contender, based on her recent performance in a private boxing league, which concluded on Saturday, and her last national ranking (Telangana boxer was No. 2) recorded in September in the 51kg category.
Despite her recent outburst against the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), where Nikhat had questioned the “fairness” of trials and accused the BFI officials of creating confusion with regards to her spot in the trials, the federation’s selection committee and foreign coaches unanimously put a stamp of approval on her name.
For the trials, according to the BFI rules, boxers ranked one and four and second and third ranked will fight against each other. The selectors have ranked Mary Kom No. 1, Nikhat has been given second rank, while Jyoti and Ritu have been ranked third and fourth.
“The winners of each bout will make it to the final trial match and the winners here in each of the five weight categories will then be selected to be part of the Indian team to participate in the Olympic Qualifiers – Asia & Oceania in Wuhan,” the BFI said.
Nikhat had been demanding a trial with Mary Kom for long and was set to face the six-time world champion in the league. But Mary Kom pulled out of two of her supposed bouts against Nikhat citing a back injury. An agitated
Nikhat had then demanded fair trials and asked the BFI to televise the bouts live, which was promptly rejected by the federation.
Other weight categories: (Women): 57kg: Sonia, Sakshi, Sonia Lather and Manisha; 60kg: Sarita Devi, Shashi Chopra, Simranjit Kaur and Pavitra; 69kg: Lovlina Borgohain, Anjali, Lalita and Meena Rani; 75kg: Pooja Rani, Indraja KA, Saweety Boora and Nupur. (TNN)