Nikhat Zareen given green light for Olympic qualifier trials
Ending the speculation surrounding Nikhat Zareen, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) on Saturday announced the names of the Indian boxers who will be participating in the two-day trials for the Olympic qualifier tournament which will be held at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in New Delhi on December 27th and 28th.
Among the selected boxers, Zareen was given the fourth spot in the 51kg category. With that, she joins fellow contenders six-time World Champion MC Mary Kom, Railway Sports Promotion Board's (RSPB) Jyoti Gulia and Haryana's Ritu Grewal.
Mary Kom is ranked first, ahead of Zareen, while Gulia and Grewal rank third and fourth respectively.
Nikhat Zareen to start against Gulia, Mary Kom v Grewal
As per the BFI, boxers ranked first and fourth will face off against boxers ranked second and third.
“The winners of each bout will make it to the final trial match and the winners here in each of the 5 categories will then be selected to be part of the Indian Team to participate in the Olympic Qualifiers — Asia & Oceania in Wuhan from February 3-14, 2020,” the BFI said.
With that criteria in place, Zareen will fight Gulia, while Kom will take on Grewal. Following that, the winner of each bout will face off against each other in a final trial match to decide who makes the cut for the Indian team for the Olympic qualifiers.
No more speculation?
The announcement puts an end to the speculation surrounding Zareen, whose long insistence for a trial against Kom could finally materialise.
In the 57kg category, Sonia will take on fellow RSPB player and World Championship silver medallist Sonia Lather, while Haryanvi pugilists Sakshi and Manisha will be matched up against each other.
In 60kg, All India Police's L Sarita Devi will be squaring off against Haryana's Shashi Chopra while Punjab's Simranjit Kaur is going to lock horns with RSPB's Pavitra.
In 69kg, Delhi's Anjali will fight two-time World Championship bronze medallist Assam's Lovlina Borgohain, and Rajasthan's Lalita will be pitted against RSPB's Meena Rani.
Finally, in the 75kg category, Kerala's Indraja KA will take on Asian Games bronze medallist Pooja Rani, and 2014 World Championship silver medallist Saweety Boora will square off against fellow Haryanvi Nupur.
Among the men, in the 57kg category, 2019 Asian Amateur Boxing Championships silver medallist Kavinder Singh Bisht will face 2018 Commonwealth Games (CWG) gold medallist Gaurav Solanki. Also squaring off in the category will be 2018 CWG bronze medallist Md Hussamudin and Sachin.
In 75kg, Ashish Kumar of Himachal Pradesh will take on Haryana's Ankit Khatana.
In the 81kg category, Brijesh Yadav of Rajasthan has been named, along with Services Sports Control Board's (SSCB) Sachin Kumar and Sumit Sangwan. However, Sangwan's foray into the trials will depend on getting cleared of doping charges by NADA.
In 91kg, Naman Tanwar of RSPB will take on SSCB's Gaurav Chauhan, while SSCB teammates Satish Kuar and Narender will fight each other.
India’s Manish Kaushik and Amit Panghal have been exempted from the National Trials following their medal winning performances at the 2019 AIBA World Boxing Championships and they will appear directly at the Olympic qualifiers, which will be held in China in February, 2020.