mary kom

Indian boxing star MC Mary Kom. (IANS file photo)

NEW DELHI — MC Mary Kom and Nikhat Zareen won their respective first round bouts Dec. 27 at the ongoing women's boxing trials for the Olympic qualifiers in New Delhi to set up a showdown in the final of the 51kg category. While Nikhat beat current national champion Jyoti Gulia, Mary got the better of Ritu Grewal.

Nikhat had after the Women's Boxing World Championships in November demanded a trial to decide who between her and Mary Kom will go after it looked like the latter may travel to China for the Asia/Oceania Olympic qualifiers in February 2020 due to the Boxing Federation of India's indecision over the selection policy. She had also demanded that the trials be telecast live which the BFI rejected, stating that there is no precedence for it.

While Mary always stated that she would abide by whatever selection policy the BFI has, she had indicated an aversion to a trial, taking the example of other sports in which athletes don't have to give trials.

"Even in other games like badminton, who gives trial? Have you seen Saina Nehwal and P.V. Sindhu appearing for trials? But in our case it is different," she had said in August.

In the 57kg weight category, Sakshi beat Manisha and will face Sonia Lather in the final. The latter beat Sonia Chahal. Former World Champion Laishram Sarita Devi beat Shashi Chopra in 60kg. She will be facing Simranjit Kaur who beat Pavitra.

Two-time world champion Lovlina Borgohain beat Anjali and will face Lalita who beat Meena Rani in 69kg. Asian Games bronze medallist Pooja Rani faces Nupur who beat former World Championships silver medallist Saweety Boora in 75kg.

The women boxers who will travel for other weight categories will also be decided on Saturday. The men's trials for the Olympic qualifiers will subsequently be held in Bellary, Karnataka starting Dec. 29.

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