The Boxing Federation of India (BFI) has changed their selection policy after the Women's World Championships, with all medal winners from the event now getting automatically selected for the Asia/Oceania Olympics Qualifier that will be held in China next year in February, according to a report in The Tribune.
Earlier, the BFI had communicated to the pugilists and the coaches that only the women boxers who qualified for the finals of the World Championships would be eligible for direct selection in the Olympics qualifier. However, all medal winners (including bronze) from the men's team would make the cut to play in the Olympic qualifiers without having to undergo trials.
This decision seems to have been made after legendary Mary Kom failed to qualify for the summit clash of the Championships, ending with a bronze medal eventually. This policy will also benefit Lovlina Borghoin, who fought in the 69kg category and won a bronze in the event that was held in Russia.
However, BFI president Ajay Singh rubbished such claims and stated that the rules were changed as there was displeasure within the federation at having two different rules for the men and the women.
What is the road ahead for Nikhat Zareen?
BFI's changed policy also means that Nikhat Zareen, who fights in the 51kg, will not get an opportunity to clinch a spot to Tokyo in the first qualifier. Zareen had been controversially stopped from competing against Mary Kom in the World Championship trials in August even after the draws had been released. Mary Kom had threatened to not appear in the trials, which forced the BFI to take the step.
Today's decision, then, will disappoint Zareen but she will have an opportunity to clinch the spot in the second Olympic qualifiers that will be held in Paris in May, 2020. Singh hinted that if Mary fails to seal her spot in the first qualifier, the BFI will look to give a chance to others in the Paris event.
“Ideally, if she (Mary) doesn’t earn qualification then we should give a chance to others," he stated.