Former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen on Saturday said she was left hurt by veteran MC Mary Kom’s refusal to share a hug after their trial bout for the Olympic qualifiers, which the latter lost by a split 1-9 verdict.
The 23-year-old Hyderabadi, lost to the six-time world champion in the 51kg bout, who rebuffed the youngster’s attempted hug owing to a bitter build-up to the bout.
“I am happy with how I performed. I gave my all,” Zareen said. She added: “I did not like her behaviour after the bout. I expected that, as a senior boxer, she would appreciate my efforts. I felt hurt but I don’t want to comment anything more.
“She also swore at me after the bout, but it’s okay,” she added.
Mary Kom, while responding to questions on her conduct, said: “I am also a human being, I also get irritated. Can’t I get angry when my credentials are questioned like this? And this wasn’t the first time. It has happened so many times with me despite the fact that no other Indian boxer has achieved what I have achieved.”
The questions she was referring to were raised when the Boxing Federation of India, in a departure from its policy, considered giving Mary Kom direct selection for Olympic Qualifiers. Zareen’s protest led to insinuations that Mary Kom was avoiding a clash with her, something that left the six-time world champion furious.
Zareen said she would bounce back from the loss. “I will get another chance and I will prove myself there. If she doesn’t qualify from February Olympic Qualifiers, I would again appear for a trial for the world qualifiers in May. I want to remain positive and I am sure I will be back stronger,” she added.