India Proud of Both Mary Kom and Nikhat Zareen: Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju
Nikhat Zareen (L) and Mary Kom. (Photo Credit: BFI)
New Delhi: Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday said Mary Kom is a legend, while Nikhat Zareen is an "amazing boxer" with the potential to follow in the footsteps of the six-time world champion.
He further insisted India is proud of both of them.
"Too much of issues are created on this! Mary Kom is a legend who has achieved what no other boxer has ever achieved in the World Amateur Boxing. Nikhat Zareen is an amazing boxer who has the potential to follow the footsteps of Mary Kom. India is proud of both of them. Period...," Rijiju tweeted.
The comments from the Sports Minister come after controversy erupted after the culmination of much-awaited bout final bout between the two pugilists on Saturday at the women's trials for the Olympic qualifiers in New Delhi.
After beating Nikhat by a 9-1 verdict to confirm herself a spot in the Indian team which will be travelling to China for the Olympic Qualifiers, Mary Kom refused to shake hands with her as she believed the younger pugilist had shown her no respect.
"Why should I shake hands with her? If she wants 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," Mary Kom had said after her bout.
Nikhat, however, maintained that her fight was not against Mary Kom but against a system that was not giving her a fair chance to prove herself in her weight category and go for the big competitions.
"Even I never imagined that all this will happen," Nikhat told IANS on Sunday.
"It was very new for me. I never expected that she will get so angry on me for going on Twitter and writing a letter to the sports minister. If she is taking all that personally that's her choice, I can't comment on that. I was fighting for a fair trial. I was fighting against the system, not Mary Kom or the federation. I was saying that there should be a proper trial before every competition. That's it."