Months after Nikhat Zareen accused the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) of unfair treatment, former World Championship bronze medal winner Gaurav Bidhuri has questioned the selection procedure for the boxing trials that will determine who participates in the Olympic Qualifiers next year. In a letter addressed to the Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and the BFI, Bhiduri mentioned his omission from the men's trials that will be held on December 29 and 30 in Bellary, Karnataka.
"I have had enough of this unfair system. The medallists from this year's world championships were given direct slots in the Olympic Qualifiers. But when I won the world bronze in 2017, I wasn't even allowed to appear for Commonwealth and Asian Games trials," Bidhuri told PTI. "At that time I was told I hadn't competed for enough, this time I am being told I haven't competed against strong opponents. Can somebody explain what is the selection criteria here? It doesn't make any sense," he said.
Bidhuri, who wishes to compete in the 57kg weight category, has been excluded, with the boxers finalised in the division being Asian silver medallist Kavinder Singh Bisht, Commonwealth Games winners Mohammed Hussamuddin and Gaurav Solanki, along with Sachin Siwach, the former world youth world champion. A top official in the BFI stated that the selection was based on the current world rankings and recent performances.
"The selection policy has been in the public domain for a long time. There is no discrimination as he has alleged. Don't want to get into details but the rankings have been made purely on performance," the official said.
Earlier this year, the BFI had been accused of its unfair treatment to stalwarts by Nikhat Zareen, after they shortlisted Mary Kom as the direct entrant in the Olympic qualifiers that will be held in China next year even without hosting trials. Zareen, who competes in the 51kg division - the same as Mary Kom - lashed out at the governing body for not giving youngsters a chance, and demanded a fair trial to determine the potential Olympian. The BFI eventually conceded to her demands, with the women's boxing trials being held today and tomorrow.