By Baidurjo Bhose
New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS) Nikhat Zareen was all-set to take on Vanduatilal in the 51-kg trial for the World Championships on Tuesday when the 23-year-old was told by the chairman of the selectors Rajesh Bhandari that her bout wouldn’t take place just to ensure that she is protected for the future and not exposed at a young age in the World Championships.
The move has come as a rude shock for both the boxer and her father who had travelled from Hyderabad to the national capital for the trials for the championship to be held in Russia in October.
In a letter to the officials of the Boxing Federation of India, accessed by IANS, the boxer requested for an explanation on why she had been stopped from competing even though she had seen her name on the list when the schedule was first released.
“As per our discussion yesterday and your assurance that my bout for the 51-kg for the World Championships trials will surely happen today, I’m surprised to see that the schedule list which was circulated this (Wednesday) morning, my name and weight category doesn’t feature.
“This is in light of the fact that yesterday my name and weight category was there in the schedule and was supposed to be the first bout. Still at the last moment we were told by all of you officials that my fight with Vanduatilal of All India Police will not take place.
“I request an urgent explanation as to what is happening and what is the final decision in this regard,” she said.
In an email to president Ajay Singh, she wrote: “I’m writing this email out of sheer frustration and feeling of helplessness. To my utter surprise and disappointment, I was today informed just before the bouts were supposed to start by the Chairman Selection Committee, Rajesh Bhandari, that my bout will not happen today and there are some internal discussions happening to ensure I’m protected for future and avoid getting exposed at a young age in World Championships.
“I’m really surprised by this action as I have already participated in World Championships in 2016 and if I was fine then, so in 2019, I surely cannot be young and this cannot be the reason.
“I, as a citizen of India and a boxer under BFI, only request that a fair trial should happen for all boxers under your leadership. If there is a rule for all of us, it needs to be consistent for all of us irrespective of whatever stature a particular boxer is. I look forward to your immediate intervention and restoring the faith of every boxer in India.”
She represented India at the World Championships at Kazakhstan in 2016 and won the Bronze Medal and also won a Bronze in the recently concluded Asian Championship.
Speaking to IANS, her father said that the whole thing came as a rude shock because both Nikhat and her opponent were ready to head into the ring when it was announced that the bout wouldn’t take place.
“The name was there on 6th (Tuesday), but when they got ready to enter the ring, the judges were also there and after that they were told there will be no trial in her category only.
“Then they said that we will discuss the matter and then will let us know if the fight happens today. But again, the name wasn’t there on the list. They are saying it is the order of the federation. The president has always been very supportive and this has been surprising. We wanted a fair trial and nothing more. We are still waiting for a clarity in the matter,” he rued.
“Here we are aiming for the Olympics and see where we are stuck. Hoping that even if not today, they hold the trials tomorrow. She has been consistent and has performed against some of the best boxers and age cannot be an issue.”
Nikhat was the Junior World Champion in 2011 and Youth World Silver Medalist in 2013.