Six-time world boxing champion, Mary Kom, proved yet again why she is one of the greatest sports personalities worldwide. After months of anticipation, the final showdown between Mary Kom and Nikhat Zareen in the 51 kg final of the women’s trials came to end with Zareen’s defeat. The former won the bout by a split 9-1 verdict. With this triumphant victory, Mary Kom has sealed her berth in the Indian team for the 2020 Olympic qualifiers to be held in Wuhan, China. What caught the attention of netizens was not Mary Kom’s victory, but her reaction after the bout.
The video of Mary Kom marching past her young opponent and refusing to offer a customary handshake to her went viral on social media and sent the Twitterati into a frenzy. While some people criticized Mary Kom for her act of snubbing Nikhat, others supported her and slammed Nikhat for disrespecting her senior in the first place. Twitterati are divided opinions over this whole episode.
Nikhat lost in a split verdict, but a few representatives from her home state Telangana’s boxing association and her supporters did not accept the decision, blaming Boxing Federation of India (BFI) for being partial. The situation had become so worse that BFI President Ajay Singh had to intervene and control the situation.
On being asked about the incident after the bout, Mary Kom explained, "Why should I shake hands with her? If she wants others to respect her then she should first respect others”.
She added, “I don't like people with such nature. Just prove your point inside the ring, not outside”.
This boxing face-off marked the culmination of the months-long drama that circled around the selection trials. Earlier this year, Nikhat had vehemently demanded for a “fair chance” to contest the Olympics qualifiers. A few months back, she wrote to the Sports Ministry, challenging BFI’s decision to accommodate world champion Mary Kom and urged them to change their rule of exempting gold and silver medallists from the World Cup. As a result, this fair selection trial was conducted in which Mary Kom emerged victorious.
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Throwing light on this incident, Mary Kom said, "All the boxers were told that whoever achieved gold medals in the international competition, they would not be required to go through a trial”.
“Even I was shocked when I got to know that bronze medallists won't be required to go through trials. But later, this rule was changed, I took part in the trial and I have now proved myself”, she concluded.