Amidst Controversy, Sushil Kumar Hopes Mary Kom Will Fight Fair

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Nikhat Zareen-Mary Kom controversy has taken a new turn with Olympic medallist wrestler Sushil Kumar supporting Zareen’s demand of a “fair chance” to contest the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers on Tuesday. Zareen competes in the 51kg category same as Mary Kom. On October 17, she had written to the sports ministry asking for a fair chance against Kom. She openly challenged the Boxing Federation of India, questioning their decision to accommodate World champion Kom by changing its rule of exempting gold and silver medallists from the World Cup. She has been voicing her frustration since the boxer’s fight in the same category was scheduled with Kom, the authorities blindly supported the veteran over her and Kom is privileged in every way. Thus this didn’t end well with Zareen as she lost an opportunity to take on Kom or fight fairly.

Kom, who had won a bronze at the Women’s World Boxing Championships in Ulan-Ude in Russia this year, was given a direct entry to represent India at the Tokyo Qualifers, without a trial.  Among many celebrity sportspersons taking side in this controversy, the latest added to the list is Sushil Kumar who told ANI, “In my opinion, Mary is a very disciplined player and that is why she is a legend. She will follow the instructions of the federation. In my opinion, whosoever can do better should play for India.”

Kumar believes Mary Kom is a “class athlete” and said she should follow rules. He suggests that the two boxers should get to play.

Key Takeaways:

  • Nikhat Zareen-Mary Kom controversy has taken a new turn with wrestler Sushil Kumar supporting Zareen’s demand of a “fair chance” to contest the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers.
  •  Zareen wrote to the Sports Minister asking a trail against Mary Kom ahead of Olympic Qualifers.
  • Earlier, Mary Kom was given a direct entry to represent India at the Tokyo Qualifers
  • May the best of the two play for India: Sushil Kumar said on this controversy
  • The Tokyo Olympics Qualifiers is scheduled to be held in Wuhan from 3-14 February 2020. Nikhat Zareen called this out in a letter to the BFI. She called the selection process biased.

“When it comes to Mary Kom, she is an inspiration for players. In my opinion, Mary has made the nation proud many times, each young player and each girl wants to become Mary Kom. What Zareen has written for trials is related to the federation, it is their call if federation feels that trial should happen then the trial will surely be held because the federation is an autonomous body,” he said.

Giving example of his own experience, Kumar added, “Mary Kom is a class athlete, she knows for the young players there will be a system. I will give you my example, when I made my comeback, I started with giving trials. I gave trial for Railways and whenever I have been asked to give trial, I was always ready for it. So, I feel Mary will do the same and this is a rule of the federation, which everyone has to follow.”

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Kumar said ultimately the Federation will take a call on the matter. “Federation has said that there will be trial and if Federation feels that no trail is required for Mary Kom because she might get injured or Mary can focus on the preparation with a free-mind and get ready for the Olympics. It is for them to take a call on whether Mary will be successful or Zareen,” he said.

Feature Image Credit:  BFI official

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