Mary Kom Beats Nikhat Zareen in 51kg Trials to Represent India in Olympic Qualifiers
Mary Kom (L) and Nikhat Zareen play in the same 51kg category. (Photo Credit: BFI)
New Delhi: MC Mary Kom defeated Nikhat Zareen in the summit clash of the 51 kg category at the ongoing women's boxing trials for the Olympic qualifiers in New Delhi on Saturday. The six-time world champion and Olympic bronze medallist got the better of her 'challenger' with a 9-1 split decision victory.
With the win, Mary Kom will now represent India at the Olympic qualifiers, which are scheduled to be held in China in February next year.
Bitterness dominated the buildup to the bout after it was insinuated that the onus was on Mary Kom to agree for the trial even though it was a call that the federation had to take.
Mary Kom was visibly agitated at the end of the bout in which she impressed with her composure, refusing to let her rival get a clear shot for most of the bout. She raised the tempo in the final three minutes. There was controversy after the match as well, as Mary Kom didn't shake hands after the fight and even rebuffed Zareen's attempt at a hug.
Both had won their respective first-round bouts on Friday with Nikhat beat current national champion Jyoti Gulia, Mary got the better of Ritu Grewal in their previous rounds.
Indian Squad for Women’s Boxing Final Trial Update- 51kg.@MangteC defeated @nikhat_zareen in split decision and is selected for the Indian teamfor the Olympic Qualifiers, Asia -Oceania from Feb 3-14, 2020 in Wuhan, China.#PunchMeinHaiDum #OlympicQualifiers#boxing pic.twitter.com/AL5rthBrCR— Boxing Federation (@BFI_official) December 28, 2019
There was a lot riding on the bout.
Nikhat had after the Women's Boxing World Championships in November demanded a trial to decide who between her and Mary Kom will go after it looked like the latter may travel to China for the Asia/Oceania Olympic qualifiers in February 2020 due to the Boxing Federation of India's indecision over the selection policy. She had also demanded that the trials be telecast live which the BFI rejected stating that there is no precedence for it.
While Mary always stated that she would abide by whatever selection policy the BFI has, she had indicated an aversion to a trial, taking the example of other sports in which athletes don't have to give trials.
In other results, two-time world silver-medallist Sonia Lather (57kg) was upstaged by a swift-moving Sakshi Chaudhary. Lather, also an Asian medallist, couldn't cope with Chaudhury's relentless attack.
In the 60kg category, former world champion L Sarita Devi lost to national champion Simranjit Kaur. It was once again a battle of pace as Kaur outwitted Sarita with her precise hitting and quick reflexes.
Lovlina defeated Lalita by unanimous decision (10-0) in the 69 kg category as Pooja got the better of Nupur in the 75kg category.
Here the final Indian contingent for the Olympic qualifiers is - Mary Kom (51kg), Sakshi (57kg), Simranjit (60kg), Lovlina (69kg), Pooja (75kg).
(With inputs from Agencies)