The Ministry of Sports of the Govt of India have confirmed their support to star Indian boxer Mary Kom, after the 32-year-old mother-of-three got emotional during a media event in Mumbai on Thursday, while accusing the Indian selectors of showing regional bias during selections and trials for boxing events.
Mary Kom, a five-time boxing world champion, alleged that athletes from the North-East were being overlooked for athletes from other parts of the country, and this has not gone down well with her. The Manipuri cited that Haryana's Pinki Jangra always got preferential treatment from the selectors.
Jangra garnered attention first in 2009, after she beat Mary Kom at the National Championships, and the 24-year-old again got the better of the Padma Bhushan award winner at the trials for the 2014 Commonwealth Games (CWG) in Patiala, in the 51 kg boxing category, to book a place in the CWG team.
Mary claimed that the decision was controversial and, although, she wanted to challenge the verdict, she later withdrew her case.
The experienced amateur boxer, however, got the better of her younger counterpart after the CWG games, to make the 13-member Indian boxing contingent for the Asian Games last year in the South Korean city of Incheon, where she won the gold in the Flyweight division.
Replying to Mary's Kom remarks that the Ministry is not providing her adequate support as she is from the North-East, sports minister Sarbananda Sonowal told ANI, "No, we are always ready to support the players and whoever comes to us we are always there to support.The players should not feel isolated we are always there to support them.
"This ministry's main objective is to support the players."
Mary also mentioned that "some" referees and judges do not favour her, possibly owing to the fact that she belonged from a particular region.
"Sometimes I feel very upset. Some of the referees and judges do not favour me but I don't mind. Okay I am from north-east, no problem, but I am still an Indian," Mary Kom told reporters in Mumbai.
"There are so many controversies. Pinky Jangra, I always defeat her and prove it to get a gold medal in every competition but they [the boxing selectors] continue to support her," she said.
Sonowal stated that the boxing federation is dedicated to supporting all boxers, as the 2016 Rio Olympics draws near.
"From our ministry side, whatever support the players are asking by submitting their proposal and also the federation we are fully supporting them. That's why we are giving the adequate budget to all the federation. So, in the near future they ask anything more we are ready to support so this is the objective we have already set and this is the target we have set for the Rio Olympics," Sonowal said.
"Our target is to bring more and more medal to the country and this time at least ten plus, and that is why we are like aiming to give the best possible support to our players who have been qualified for the Rio Olympics and so far we have already come to know that 52 players have qualified for Rio Olympics."