New Delhi: Boxer Pinki Jangra has backed Nikhat Zareen's demand for a fair trial for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and wondered why the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) was tweaking the rules and favouring six-time champion Mary Kom.
Speaking to IANS, Pinki said, "On Thursday, I came to know that Mary Kom would not be competing in the trials and will be directly sent to the qualifiers. This is not right. The same thing happened before the World Championships. We had then also raised our concerns but we were told that rules are different for different tournaments and that trials would be conducted for qualifiers."
Mary Kom has maintained that she would go by the decision taken by the federation, which had earlier stated that only the gold and silver-winners from the world event would be given direct selection for the Olympic qualifiers.
"What are we doing here? We have also come into the camp as national champions. I had defeated Mary Kom in the trials before 2014 Commonwealth Games. Then there's no reason why I cannot defeat her again. I know she is a legend and I have huge respect for her. But if she is a legend, then why is she not competing in trials? We will feel satisfied if she defeats us and goes to the Qualifiers."
"We also have the same goal as qualifying for the Olympics just like Mary Kom. We also want to represent India at the world stage but for that we need an opportunity first," she added.
Pinki, the 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, further said that she has demanded a clarification from her coaches as to why the rules are being changed. "If I don't get a clarification, I will write to the BFI. If by Monday I don't get a response, I will personally go and meet the BFI President."
Nikhat had written a letter to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday, demanding that she should be given a trial bout against Mary Kom before the Indian squad for next year's Olympic qualifiers in China is decided.
Rijiju, however, steered clear of the controversy, saying he can only ask the federation to decide what is best for the nation and athletes.
This was after the BFI stated that it intends to pick Mary Kom (51kg) for the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers slated to be held in Wuhan from February 3 to 14 on the back of her recent bronze medal at the world championships in Russia.