‘Who is she, I don’t know her’: MC Mary Kom on Nikhat Zareen

Mary Kom has found herself embroiled in a controversy, with Nikhat Zareen demanding a trial bout against her before the Indian squad for next year's Olympic qualifiers is decided. (Source: Nikhat Zareen/Twitter, PTI)

Two days after Nikhat Zareen wrote to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju demanding a trial bout against MC Mary Kom before India's squad for Tokyo Olympic qualifiers is decided, the Olympic medalist has come out in the open saying, "Who is Nikhat Zareen, I don't know her."

"I am really shocked by all this. I have won eight World Championship medals, including six gold. Let the Boxing Federation of India decide whom they want. How can she cry like this? She cannot lobby to get a place in the Indian team. This is not done," Mary Kom told Republic TV.

BFI made changes to their previous decision, according to which players winning gold and silver medals at the World Championship would get direct entry to the Olympic qualifiers, in order to accommodate Mary Kom. BFI is reportedly set to send bronze medallists as well now. Mary Kom bagged a bronze at the recent World's Women Boxing Championship in Russia.

The reported decision has irked Asian Championships bronze medallist Nikhat Zareen, who has not been able to get a chance to prove her mettle because she is in the same weight category as Mary.

This is not the first time Zareen is being deprived of a chance to qualify for an international event. The 23-year-old's bout against Mary was cancelled before the World Championships as well.

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Abhinav Bindra, India’s only individual Olympic gold medallist, also backed Nikhat Zareen’s demand for a trial bout against celebrated boxer MC Mary Kom before India’s squad for next year’s Olympic Qualifiers is decided.

Reacting on Abhinav Bindra, Mary Kom said," I know who is behind all this. They are from JSW and I would like to tell Abhinav Bindra that you don't know anything about boxing and you please stay focused on your shooting. I have been doing boxing for over a decade now and for how long I will continue giving trials. Don't my records and medals speak for me?"

The celebrated boxer had beaten Zareen in Indian Open earlier this year where the latter settled for a bronze medal.