That incident made me stronger: Indian boxer Nikhat Zareen on MC Mary Kom controversy


Indian boxer Nikhat Zareen has opened up on her controversy with six-time world champion MC Mary Kom, saying that she never wanted to indulge in any fight with anyone but the incident had made her stronger.

During the 51kg final bout of the womens boxing trials for Olympics 2020 qualifiers in China in February, Mary had defeated Nikhat by a split decision with the final score being 9-1.

After the result was announced, Nikhat clapped while Mary`s hand was held up by the referee.Subsequently, Mary also refused to shake hands or hug her young competitor.Nikhat then expessed her disappointed over Mary`s behaviour, stating that the seniors should respect their youngsters as well.

Now almost a year after the controversy, Nikhat has once again reflected on the ugly incident with her ‘idol’ Mary.

In an exclusive interview to DNA, Nikhat said, “I was supposed to give trials in 51 kg category for World Championships and it could not happen. Since then, I felt bad that I am not getting opportunity. I felt I needed the trial as I had won medals in all competitions in 2019 in 51 kg category. I thought I deserved the trial. I was not fighting to send me directly to the World Championships. I was asking for a trial because I deserved it. That had a huge controversy. I never wanted to be in any controversy and never wanted to fight with anyone.”

Nikhat further said that the controversy with Mary had only made her stronger mentally for the upcoming competitions.

“When I turned senior to elite level, it was from the 51 kg. I participated in senior nationals in 2015 in Assam. When I went in national camp, it was new for me. There were all the senior boxers and I was the only youngster. I was nervous. First time when I saw my idol MC Mary Kom, I was in shock and was amazed. Everything happens for the good, I reckon. This incident probably happened in order to make myself stronger in coming competitions. But, whatever has happened, as a challenge or whatever has come my way, everyday is made me stronger,” she added.

The controversy between Mary and Nikhat began when the latter had written a letter to Sports Ministry, demanding a fair chance to decide who between her and the six-time world champion should join the Indian contingent for the Asia/Oceania Olympic qualifiers.

Zareen’s move came after it seemed that Mary will be the obvious choice for the 2020 Olympic qualifiers due to the Boxing Federation of India’s (BFI) indecision over the selection policy. 

Meanwhile, Nikhat also talked about how people tried to dim her ambitions after a shoulder dislocation had ruled her out of the majority of events in 2017.

“Many said that already I entered senior level and got injured. It would be very difficult for me to comeback. They told me it would be difficult for me to get into the Indian team after the injury. I kept myself positive by saying that I believe that whatever happens it happens for a good reason. I was working hard. One day, I felt I would make my family proud. I was happy that I started my international journey with a gold medal and also a comeback. That gave me the confidence to get back on track. I had to be mentally prepared. People can talk but I have to be focused on my work,” the young Indian boxer stated.

Nikhat made a superb boxing comeback in 2019, winning bronze in the Asian Championships, gold in Stranja, silver in the Thailand International Boxing event and the National Championships.



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