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Was fighting against system not Mary Kom: Nikhat

New Delhi: Nikhat Zareen and Mary Kom exhibited emotions that were polar opposite of each other in the aftermath of the much-awaited bout between the two on Saturday at the women’s trials for the Olympic qualifiers in New Delhi.

Mary was clearly charged up, yanking her hand away from Nikhat when the latter initiated a hug immediately after the bout and later lashed out at the 23-year-old and the media in her interaction with the reporters. Nikhat, on the other hand, was composed, applauding her opponent while the referee lifted Mary’s hand and later tried to pacify her supporters, including her father, who were incensed by the result of the bout.

It was clear that Mary had taken everything that Nikhat had done over the past few months personally. She said on Saturday that she did not feel like reciprocating Nikhat when the latter came to shake hands and hug her after the bout because Mary felt that the younger pugilist had shown her no respect. 

Nikhat, however, maintains that her fight was not against Mary but against a system that was not giving her a fair chance to prove herself in her weight category and go for the big competitions. 

“Even I never imagined that all this will happen,” Nikhat told IANS on Sunday. “It was very new for me. I never expected that she will get so angry on me for going on Twitter and writing a letter to the sports minister. If she is taking all that personally that’s her choice, I can’t comment on that. I was fighting for a fair trial. I was fighting against the system, not Mary Kom or the federation. I was saying that there should be a proper trial before every competition. That’s it.” 

There were murmurs that the trials before the 2019 women’s World Championships, which is where the saga between the two boxers had started, did not happen at Mary’s behest. She has voiced her disdain at having to give trials in the months since. On Saturday, Mary said that High Performance Directors Santiago Nieva and Raffaele Bergamasco had said that selection would be done on the basis of performances in international competitions and she had asked for an exemption on that basis. 

Nikhat however feels that Mary should be ready to go for trials so as to give the younger boxers a chance to get a measure of themselves, if not anything else. 

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