Official apathy ‘kayos’ Nikhat

Official apathy ‘kayos’ Nikhat
Highlights

She is ranked amongst the best in her category. Despite a year’s hiatus from the competitive world because of a shoulder injury, she returned with a bang, including punching her way to a gold medal in the 56th Belgrade International Tournament early this year.

Hyderabad: She is ranked amongst the best in her category. Despite a year’s hiatus from the competitive world because of a shoulder injury, she returned with a bang, including punching her way to a gold medal in the 56th Belgrade International Tournament early this year. Yet, a couple of months later, she is disillusioned and cursing her luck.

Call it fate or red-tapism but the fact is that the hugely gifted and proven talent Nikhat Zareen has once again been ‘dumped’ by the wise men calling the shots in Indian boxing.

In a development that is incredulous and shames the very process of selection, the brand ambassador of Nizamabad district and a former world champion, Nikhat has been left out of the 51kgs category trials for the contingent that is Asian Games-bound.

The ‘deeply hurt’ pugilist on Wednesday shot a missive to Jay Kowli, Secretary-General of Boxing Federation of India (BFI), in which she expresses her anguish at the ‘treatment’ meted out to her.

In her letter, which has also been sent to senior BFI officials, she has sought the intervention of the Federation in order to ensure that justice is rendered eventually and a better bet gets the Asiad nod.

Trouble, or rather her unease, started when she learnt late Tuesday evening that the 51kgs selection bout (India will field only one entry in the category) would be fought between Pinky Rani Jhangra and Sarjubala Devi on Saturday.

That obviously had her fuming. Her ‘hurt’ has been put in its perspective with ‘this has come as a surprise to me because I have had the best international result in my category since the Commonwealth Games. Besides, I had defeated Russia's Liliya Aetbaeva in the quarterfinals at Belgrade, the same boxer who beat Pinky in Russia in June.”

Insiders in the State fraternity ‘allege’ that this was a clear-cut case of showing favouritism to those from the northern States or from the North East, particularly those enjoying unequivocal patronisation of godfathers from within the Federation.

Stating that she had gone the extra mile during the national camp, Nikhat rues that when the selection committee came to review the progress of sparring and practice sessions, she was pitted against a lower-ranked boxer on the first day and a 54kg boxer on the second day.

‘Alas, I was not allowed to spar with either of the two main competitors I have in my category,’ laments Nikhat, whose Asian Games dreams seem to have been kayoed even before she could enter the ring.

A product of the JSW's Sports Excellence Program, Nikhat also had to miss out on TOPS support because of reasons that remain ‘inexplicable’.

Nikhat has made a passionate plea to Kowli to consider her appeal and allow her to be part of the Asian Games trials in the 51kg category with the most promising of the trio making the cut.

The ball, as they say, is in the court of Boxing Federation of India even as Nikhat is kept on the tenterhooks, for no fault of hers.

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