Kiren Rijiju Responds to Nikhat Zareen's SOS Tweet on Mary Kom Selection Controversy

News18 Sports

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju responded to former junior world champion boxer Nikhat Zareen after her tweet demanding a trial bout against the MC Mary Kom for selection of India's squad for next 2020 Tokyo Olympic Qualifiers.

Kiren Rijiju reiterated the point that the Sports Ministry is not entitled to intervene in selection matters of any national federation, as it is considered a violation of the Olympic Charter. The sports minister also said that he will convey the Nikhat Zareen's message to the Boxing Federation of India.

"I'll surely convey to Boxing Federation to take the best decision keeping in mind the best interest of the nation, sports & athletes. Although, Minister should not be involved in the selection of the players by the Sports Federations which are autonomous as per Olympic charter," the sports minister tweeted in response.

I'll surely convey to Boxing Federation to take the best decision keeping in mind the best interest of the NATION, SPORTS & ATHLETES. Although, Minister should not be involved in the selection of the players by the Sports Federations which are autonomous as per OLYMPIC CHARTER https://t.co/GqIBdtWRMp

— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) October 18, 2019


Mary Kom had recently claimed her eighth world medal at the recently-concluded championships in Russia. mary Kom 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.

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

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

The BFI introduced a point-based selection system last year under which boxers are now being picked on the back of their performances in various graded tournaments and the national camps.

Trial bouts, a norm earlier, are being conducted only in those weight categories in which the coaches and selectors find the competition to be exceptionally close.

Zareen had found the support of India's only individual Olympic gold-medallist and iconic shooter Abhinav Bindra.

(With inputs from PTI)