'I have defeated her many times since SAF Games but she keeps challenging me. I mean, what is the point? It is just a formality. BFI also knows who can win a medal at Olympics.'
"I am not scared to face Nikhat Zareen," declared celebrated boxer MC Mary Kom, saying it would just be a "formality" to beat her in the trials for the Olympic qualifiers.
Mary Kom (51kg) found herself embroiled in a controversy with Zareen demanding a trial bout against her before the Indian squad for next year's Olympic qualifiers is decided.
This was after the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) stated that it intends to pick six-time World champion Mary Kom (51kg) for the event in China on the back of her recent bronze medal winning performance at the World Championships in Russia.
"The decision has been taken by BFI. I can't change the rule. I can just perform. Whatever they decide, I will go with that. I am not scared to face her, I am fine with the trials," said Mary Kom on the sidelines of a felicitation program in New Delhi.
"I have defeated her many times since SAF Games but she keeps challenging me. I mean, what is the point? It is just a formality. BFI also knows who can win a medal at Olympics."
Olympic bronze medallist Mary Kom said "people are jealous of me".
"It has happened with me in the past also. Perform on the ring, that is the real thing. BFI sends us for exposure trips so comeback with a gold, prove yourself," she said.
"I am not against her. She might be good in future, let her have the experience and focus on preparation for the highest level. I have been fighting for last 20 years. To challenge is easy but to perform is difficult."
For selection of men's team, BFI had decided that the medallists of the World Championships will be sent directly to the first Olympic qualifiers to be held in China.
In the women's competition, BFI had said in August that only the gold and silver winners at the World Championships in Russia would be selected directly for the Olympic qualifiers in February.
However, BFI now has decided to call a selection committee meeting next week to discuss Zareen's plea.
Mary Kom said there should be gender quality in the selection criteria.
"I don't care about all this. Let BFI take the decision. There should be gender equality, can't have separate rules for men and women."