'I had been requested to take up the position, it was not something I had asked for.'
Five-time world champion M C Mary Kom has resigned as the national observer for Indian boxing after Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore made it clear that active sportspersons will not be considered for the position.
"I resigned as national observer 10 days ago after having a word with Mr Rathore. I had been requested to take up the position, it was not something I had asked for," Mary Kom, who claimed her fifth Asian Championships gold medal last month, said on Friday.
"I had inquired about the rule on not having active athletes as observers with the then Sports Secretary Injeti Srinivas when it was offered to me," she explained, reacting to insinuation that her appointment smacked of conflict of interest given that she is still an active national camper.
"But at that time, I was told that I should nonetheless accept the position. I did so on insistence of the Ministry and I don't want unnecessary controversies about something that I had not asked for."
The 35-year-old Olympic bronze-medallist was among 12 national observers appointed by the then Sports Minister Vijay Goel in March.
The list also includes the likes of Olympic-gold-medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra, double Olympic-medallist Sushil Kumar and former Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Akhil Kumar among others.
Of these, Sushil and Mary Kom are still active in their respective sports. Akhil, on the other hand, is no longer a part of the national camp after giving up amateur boxing.
He has already rejected the conflict of interest charge, saying that he is neither a beneficiary of government schemes nor a part of the national camp.
"I was never interested in this but accepted the position because I had been requested. I have my hands full with a lot of things. I am happy to let it go and have no complaints," said Mary Kom.
The decorated boxer is also a Rajya Sabha MP and is in contention for the Commonwealth and Asian Games next year.