Mary Kom has had a busy day. The country’s most decorated female boxer is in her second promotional event in just six hours. For the second part, Mary Kom has talked about how eSports can be a game for the younger generation.
Other dignitaries on the panel are happy that eSports is part of the Asian Games and sees it as a future Olympic event where India can win a medal.
Mary Kom knows the spirit of winning an Olympic medal. Being the only woman boxer in India to win a bronze medal, she is the most prominent boxer in the country.
Now she is bidding for each other. No Indian woman has won two Olympic medals. In a year, Mary Kom will be on a flight to Tokyo and fight for that medal. But the journey has started on a controversial note.
A week ago, she was given direct entry to the World Championships even as her younger rival Nikhat Zareen cried foul after Boxing Federation of India canceled the trial on the day it was scheduled to be held.
Zareen had written a letter to BFI seeking an explanation as to why the trials were canceled. However, a BFI official later said that she was young and being protected.
Now, Mary Kom has called for a change in the selection policy altogether.
“BFI should decide who should go and hold no trials for the boxers who are playing consistently,” Mary Kom said. “Those boxers should get direct quota to tournaments.”
Citing examples from badminton, Mary Kom answered why PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal were given direct entrances at the ongoing World Championships.
“They did not hold any trial. Why is our case there is always a trial?” she asked.
While badminton works on a structure of world rankings which determine who qualifies for the World championship, there is no such system in boxing, and the national federations decide the entries according to their stipulated criteria.
Mary Kom maintained that she did not influence the selection. However, she did admit that her coach Chhote Lal Yadav had written to BFI seeking an exemption.
But Mary Kom is not letting the controversy affect her preparation.
“Anyone can be tough, and I am preparing for this. I see videos, and Olympic qualifications start only in January,” said the 36-year-old.
But before the selection dispute was over, Mary Kom was caught in a conflict of interest as she was part of the committee to select the recipients of the Dronacharya award, although she nominated Yadav for the honor.
She later recused herself when the Dronacharya Awards were discussed, but on Wednesday she questioned why she could not nominate her coach.
“I have recommended so many names in the past. Why should there be this dispute now? I was on the committee for the second time. I just had to pull out because my coach’s name was on the list.”
This was the typical Mary Kom. Throw punch to punch and stand by what he was told. But with all the productions he will have to do the same when he takes the ring in Russia in October.
While tickets for the Olympics are still far away, Mary Kom will be India’s biggest hope. And with a year to go to the Tokyo Games, there would be a proper assessment of the World Championship, where he stands in the 51 kg weight category.
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