Nikhat Zareen, who was upset that Mary Kom was chosen for the World Championships, claimed that there was prejudice in the selection process in 2019. The 12th annual Woman’s World Boxing Championship was held in Istanbul, where Nikhat Zarren made history by winning gold.
As seen on the scorecards (30-27, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28, 30-27, 29-28), the 52-kilogram final bout between Nikhat Zareen and Jutamas Jitpong went in favor of the Indian boxer. Following in the footsteps of Mary Kom, Sarita Devi (2006), Jenny RL (2006), and Lekha KC.
Nikhat Zareen became only the fifth Indian woman to earn a gold medal at the World Boxing Championships (2006). In contrast, Mary Kom and Nikhat Zareen verbally sparred during the Olympic selection process a couple of years ago.
Mary Kom vs Nikhat Zareen Controversy
Nikhat Zareen claimed selection bias by the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) when they chose her to represent India at the Olympics in 2019, well before the World Boxing Championship scandal erupted. Although Nikhat had hoped to battle Mary Kom in the 51-kg trials, she was passed over when Mary Kom was picked to represent India at the Women’s World Boxing Championships without a competition.
After being told that his request for a trial would not be granted, Nikhat wrote to the federation and to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju. And in other news, Mary Kom brought home the bronze from the world championships. With Mary Kom’s World Championship success in mind, the federation decided to make an exception to their norm of only selecting the gold and silver medalists from the Worlds for the Olympic qualifiers in February 2020.
When it seemed like all hope was lost, boxer Zareen wrote to then-sports minister Kiran Rijiju again, pleading for a trial and a “fair opportunity.” But Rijiju decided not to become involved in the situation. At some point, the BFI settled on holding trials for each weight class to determine who would represent the country in the Olympic qualifying competition.
When asked by Republic TV about the incident, the great boxer Mary Kom responded, “Who is Nikhat Zareen, I don’t know her.” After months of back and forth, Nikhat Zareen was finally granted a chance to compete against Mary Kom for a berth on India’s Tokyo Olympics team. The much-hyped duel was mostly one-sided, with Kom easily defeating Zareen in a trial decided by a split judgment.
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Women’s World Boxing Championships: Nikhat Zareen wins gold
In the semifinals, Nikhat Zareen had already upset Zhaina Shekerbekova of Kazakhstan, a three-time medalist at the World Championships. At the 2019 Thailand Open semi-final, the 25-year-old Indian used her superior reach to overcome the Thai opponent for the first and only time.
Nikhat appeared to have the match well in hand after the first round, and Jutamas’s attempt at a comeback in the second round with a counterattacking show caused little disruption. After mercilessly pummeling her opponent, the Indian boxer easily won gold. Nikhat Zareen was defeated by Mary Kom 1-9 in a match that had a lot of expectations riding on it.
No traditional handshake was exchanged, and when the younger player sought a hug, the veteran player rejected it, leaving her in tears. Ms. Zareen was not deterred from pursuing recognition by the unpleasant incident. Ms. Zareen hit the nail on the head with her 2022 prediction.
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when she became the first Indian boxer to win two gold medals at the Strandja Memorial thanks to a string of excellent performances that included knocking out the Tokyo Olympics silver winner in February. After an already impressive streak, she kept it going at the World Championship, helping India win its first gold in four years. She won every match she was in.
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