Bindra backs Zareen's demand for a trial against Mary Kom
India’s only individual Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra on Thursday backed Nikhat Zareen’s demand for a trial bout against celebrated boxer M C Mary Kom before India’s squad for next year’s Olympic Qualifiers is decided.
New Delhi : India's only individual Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra on Thursday backed Nikhat Zareen's demand for a trial bout against celebrated boxer M C Mary Kom before India's squad for next year's Olympic Qualifiers is decided.
Former junior world champion boxer Zareen, who was refused a trial by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) for the World Championships, has written to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, demanding a "fair chance" to make it to the team for the Olympic qualifiers to be held in February next year.
"While I have all the respect for Mary Kom, Fact is, an athletes life is an offering of proof. Proof that we can be as good as yesterday. Better than yesterday. Better than tomorrows man/woman. In sport, yesterday NEVER counts," Bindra wrote on his twitter handle.
Both Bindra and Zareen are associated with JSW group in different capacities. Mary Kom (51kg) claimed her eighth world medal at the recently-concluded championships in Russia and BFI now plans to send the Manipuri boxer for the Olympic qualifiers in China, 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. The BFI criteria for men made it possible for even the bronze-winners to get direct selection. Zareen had lost to Mary Kom at the semifinal of India Open in May this year.
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).
The BFI now also plans to send 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.
"Sir, the very basis of sport is fair play 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 to Kiren Rijiju.
"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.
"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 fair play.
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