Mary Kom and Nikhat Zareen could face-off in a trail, as early as December this year, to decide India’s representation in the 51kg category for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic qualifiers. It is learnt that nearly everyone in the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) are in support of holding the trial.
Sources in the know of developments have confirmed the opinion held by BFI office-bearers, selection committee members, and the foreign and national coaches will be conveyed to BFI chief Ajay Singh during a meeting with him next week in Delhi.
"The selection policy was drafted after a detailed discussion with everyone on board, including the president and his office team. It’s not about convincing the president, but conveying the decision to him that everyone has unanimously decided to conduct a trial, and that the rule can’t be changed,” a top BFI source informed TOI.
According to the rules set down previously, only the gold and silver medallists at the women’s World Championships held in Ulan-Ude will be selected for the qualifiers in Wuhan, starting from February 3 to 14. Mary Kom, the bronze winner at the Worlds, will have to appear in a trial.
"Look, 10 brains came together while framing the selection policy, including the two foreign coaches. Every detail was worked out minutely and nobody was left behind during the consultation. Performance, experience and overall technical aspect, everything was considered. The meeting was held in the president's office and everything was told to him," a BFI source said.
"Minutes of the meeting were noted down and circulated to everyone, including him. After getting approval from all quarters, including the BFI chief, the selection rules were framed. Now, suddenly we can't go back on our word. The trial will happen after the women's Nationals (December 2 to 8)."
However, the official added a twist to the tale of the possible clash between 36-year-old Mary and 23-year-old Nikhat.
"If Mary Kom beats Nikhat hands down, then she will be the chosen one. Same goes for Nikhat. In case there's a close fight, then certain factors will be taken into account before naming the selected boxer," the official added.