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Mary Kom sets sights on seventh gold at women’s boxing Worlds

Press Trust of India

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Mary kom

Ulan-Ude (Russia): The medal haul is the same as last time but four Indian boxers, spearheaded by the indomitable M C Mary Kom, would be fighting to better the colour of those medals in the semifinals of the Women’s World Championship here on Saturday.

The third-seeded Mary Kom (51kg), assured of an unparalleled eighth world medal, would be aiming for a seventh gold and standing in her way in the semifinals is Turkey’s European champion Busenaz Cakiroglu. Cakiroglu is seeded second.

Besides six world titles, Mary Kom’s incredible career is also studded with an Olympic bronze medal (2012), five Asian titles, gold medals at the Asian Games and the Commonwealth Games, besides numerous other international top finishes.

The spotlight will also be on two very impressive debutants — Manju Rani (48kg) and Jamuna Boro — besides last edition’s bronze-medallist Lovlina Borgohain (69kg).

“All of them have performed exceptionally well. We are keeping our fingers crossed for all of them to reach the final,” national coach Mohammed Ali Qamar, who also happens to be India’s first Commonwealth Games gold-medallist in boxing, told PTI.

All of them have tough opponents lined up but all of them have shown themselves to be completely unfazed by the prospect of going up against a strong challenger.

“One can never be satisfied. We are happy that our performance has not dipped since the 2018 edition but it is a bit disappointing that we couldn’t better it. We could have had six semifinalists but for a couple of close losses,” said Qamar.

One of the most outstanding performers this time has been Manju Rani. The boxer from Haryana, who didn’t get a break in her home state, claimed the national title by competing for Punjab and came into national camp only this year.

“She has been unstoppable definitely. She has made every one of her opportunity and that includes a silver medal at Strandja Memorial (one of Europe’s oldest boxing tournaments),” Qamar said.

Her next opponent is going to be Thailand’s Chuthamat Raksat, who upstaged fifth seed Yuliyanova Asenova in the quarterfinals.

Boro, an Assam Rifles employee whose mother worked as a vegetable vendor to support her boxing dreams, is another one to have impressed considerably.

The 22-year-old will take on top seed and former Asian Games bronze-medallist Huang Hsiao-Wen of Chinese Taipei.

Borgohain is the more seasoned one and she will face China’s Yang Liu, who shocked top seed Chen Nien-Chin. Borgohain is in pursuit of a medal better than the bronze she won the last time around.

India’s best performance in the event remains the one in 2006 when the country snared eight medals, including four gold, one silver and three bronze.

Mary Kom was one among the gold-medallists that year too.

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Boxing

Mary Kom ready to fight Zareen in trials, says it would be a “formality”

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Nikhat Zareen & Mary Kom

New Delhi: “I am not scared to face Nikhat Zareen,” avowed celebrated boxer MC Mary Kom, saying it would just be a “formality” to beat her in the trials for the Olympic qualifiers.

Mary Kom (51kg) found herself embroiled in a controversy with Zareen demanding a trial bout against her before the Indian squad for next year’s Olympic qualifiers is decided.

This was after the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) stated that it intends to pick six-time world champion Mary Kom (51kg) for the event in China on the back of her recent bronze medal-winning performance at the World Championships in Russia.

“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.”

Mary Kom said “people are jealous of me”.

“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 comeback 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.”

For selection of men’s team, BFI had decided that the medallists of the World Championships will be sent directly to the first Olympic qualifiers to be held in China.

In women’s competition, BFI had said in August that only the gold and silver winners at the World Championships in Russia would be selected directly for the Olympic qualifiers in February.

However, BFI now has decided to call a selection committee meeting next week to discuss Zareen’s plea.

Mary Kom said there should be gender quality 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.”

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Sports minister Rijiju to talk to Boxing federation over Nikhat Zareen’s trial demands

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Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju to talk to BFI over Nikhat Zareen's trial demands
Kiren Rijiju (left) and Nikhat Zareen.

New Delhi: Sports minister Kiren Rijiju on Friday said he will speak to the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) over former junior world champion boxer Nikhat Zareen’s demand for a trial bout against MC Mary Kom before India’s squad for next year’s Olympic Qualifiers is decided.

Rijiju took to Twitter to assure the boxer that he will surely convey her demand to the BFI to take the best decision concerning the interest of the nation, sport and athletes.

He tweeted, “I’ll surely convey to Boxing Federation to take the best decision keeping in mind the best interest of the NATION, SPORTS & ATHLETES.”

Rijiju also mentioned that as per the Olympic Charter, a Minister should not be allowed in the selection of players by the sports federations.

“Although, Minister should not be involved in the selection of the players by the Sports Federations which are autonomous as per OLYMPIC CHARTER,” said Rijiju.

Mary Kom (51kg) claimed her eighth world medal at the recently-concluded championships in Russia. She was selected for the event ahead of Zareen, who was refused a trial by the BFI, which decided to go by Mary’s consistent performances while making the choice.

Nikhat demanded a fair chance as the basis of sports is fairplay. She wrote, “All I want is a fair chance. If I’m not given the opporunity to compete what am I training for. Sports is about FairPlay & I dont want to loose faith in my country. Jai Hind.”

The BFI plans to send Mary Kom for the Olympic qualifiers on the back of her bronze-winning show at the world championships, moving away from the previous decision to give direct selection only to the gold and silver winners.

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Nikhat Zareen knocks on Rijiju’s door for trial bout against Mary Kom

Press Trust of India

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Nikhat Zareen

New Delhi: Former junior world champion boxer Nikhat Zareen has written to the Sports minister Kiren Rijiju, demanding a trial bout against the celebrated MC Mary Kom before India’s squad for next year’s Olympic Qualifiers is decided.

Mary Kom (51kg) claimed her eighth world medal at the recently-concluded championships in Russia. She was selected for the event ahead of Zareen, who was refused a trial by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), which decided to go by Mary Kom’s consistent performances while making the choice.

The BFI now also plans to send Mary Kom for the Olympic qualifiers on the back of her bronze-winning show at the world championships, moving away from the previous decision to give direct selection only to the gold and silver winners.

The qualifiers will be held in China in February next year.

“Sir, the very basis of sport is fairplay and need to keep proving oneself each and every time. Even Olympic gold medallists have to fight again to qualify to represent the country,” she wrote in the letter.

“I have been inspired by Mary Kom since I was a teenager. The best way I can do justice to this inspiration was to strive to be as great a boxer as her. And Mary Kom is too big a legend in sport to need to hide from competition and not actually defend her Olympic qualification,” she said.

Interestingly, the BFI criteria for men made it possible for even the bronze-winners to get direct selection.

“After all, if 23-time gold-medallist Michael Phelps has to re-qualify every time for the Olympics, the rest of us should do the same.”

Mary Kom has maintained that she would follow the BFI guidelines on selection trials and will compete if asked by the federation.

The Sports Ministry is not entitled to intervene in selection matters of any national federation unless requested by the parent international body as any such unilateral move is considered a violation of the Olympic Charter.

Zareen said even if she were to lose the trial bout, should she get one, she would feel content about at least getting a chance.

“I look for no favours, just fairplay. And whether Mary Kom or any other boxer qualifies after the trial, we can at least sleep at night knowing that every one of the candidate for the best possible opportunity to make India proud at Olympics,” she said.

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