Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju Reacts To Mary Kom-Nikhat Zareen Controversy

Updated: 30 December 2019 12:18 IST

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said that India is proud to have both Mary Kom and Nikhat Zareen.

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju Reacts To Mary Kom-Nikhat Zareen Controversy
Kiren Rijiju lavished praise on veteran boxer Mary Kom. © AFP

Mary Kom, who defeated Nikhat Zareen to seal a place in the Indian team for the 2020 Olympic qualifiers, received support from Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Monday. Calling Mary Kom a legend, Kiren Rijiju said that no one else has achieved what the veteran boxer has in "World Amateur Boxing". The Sports Minister also praised Nikhat Zareen and said 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," the sports minister tweeted.

Mary Kom booked her berth in the Indian team for the 2020 Olympic qualifiers slated to be held in Wuhan, China after getting the better of Nikhat Zareen in the final of 51kg women's boxing trial on Saturday.

After the trial bout in Delhi, a video surfaced on Twitter in which Mary Kom can be seen refusing to shake hands with her opponent.

The controversy between the two boxers began when Nikhat Zareen asked for a trail bout against Mary Kom.

Zareen had written to the Sports Minister asking for a fair chance back in October after the Boxing Federation of India hinted that there will be no trials for the 51 kg category and Mary Kom will be their automatic selection.

Zareen used Olympic gold-winning swimmer Michael Phelps' reference while asking for a trial bout against Mary Kom.

"After all, if 23-time gold medallist Michael Phelps had to re-qualify every time for the Olympics, the rest of us must do the same," Nikhat Zareen had said in a tweet.

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Highlights
  • Mary Kom received support from Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju
  • Kiren Rijiju called Mary Kom a legend
  • Kiren Rijiju said India is proud to have both Mary Kom and Nikhat Zareen
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