Don't Like People with Such Nature: Mary Kom on Hand Shake Snub After Beating Nikhat Zareen
Mary Kom refused to shake hands with Nikhat Zareen after defeating her trial bout and book her place in next year's Olympic qualifiers.
Mary Kom (Photo Credit: Twitter/ANI)
New Delhi: Six-time world champion MC Mary Kom (51kg) defeated Nikhat Zareen in a split verdict trial bout to make the Indian team for next year's Olympic qualifiers in China.
In a bout that had very few clear punches, Mary Kom prevailed 9-1 to make the squad. There was palpable tension inside the boxing hall before and after the bout owing to the bitter row triggered by Zareen's public demand for a trial.
Words were exchanged between the boxers during the bout and outside the ring, and a few representatives from Zareen's home state Telangana's boxing association cried foul once the result was declared. The two also didn't shake hands after the fight and Mary Kom rebuffed Zareen's attempt at a hug.
When asked why she did not, she said: "Why should I shake hands with her? If she want others to respect her then she should first respect others. I don't like people with such nature. Just prove your point inside the ring, not outside."
When asked about her refusal to hug Zareen, Mary Kom retorted , "they call it clinching in our sport."
"I did not start this controversy. I never said I won't appear for trial. That's why I can't take it when somebody insinuates that probably it was my fault. It was not my fault and my name shouldn't have been dragged into it," she said.
Zareen, on her part, said she gave her best in the contest and expected her senior rival to be more cordial once it was over.
"I am hurt by how she behaved. She used some foul language inside the ring too, but it's okay," said Zareen.
"I am a junior, it would have been nice for her to just exchange a hug once it was over. But I don't want to comment any further," she added.
Boxing Federation of India President Ajay Singh had to step in to control the situation outside the ring after A P Reddy, claiming to represent the Telangana Boxing Association, vociferously protested the decision.
"How will boxing grow amid this kind of politics," Reddy later told reporters after being asked to leave the ringside by Singh and pacified by Zareen herself.
Reddy later said that they will launch an official protest with the International Boxing Association through the Telangana Sports Ministry. "Nikhat was the clear winner. Mary Kom was given the bout because of her seniority and because she is a Rajya Sabha MP," he told reporters.
"Whatever one can say about Mary Kom, it is always going to be less. She is a phenomenal talent. As for Nikhat, she is a great hope for the future and she was impressive in this bout too," said Singh after the bout.
The controversy had started when Zareen had demanded the trial match against Mary Kom after the Boxing Federation of India's flip-flop on the selection policy for the Olympic Qualifiers.
Mary Kom had maintained that she would abide by the selection policy laid down by the BFI, which ultimately decided to have trials.
(With inputs from Agencies)
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