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After Nikhat, Pinki questions rule tweak to accommodate Mary Kom

“What are we doing here? We have also come into the camp as national champions. I had defeated Mary Kom in the trials before 2014 Commonwealth Games. Then there’s no reason why I cannot defeat her again.

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Boxer Pinki Jangra

New Delhi, Oct 19 : Boxer Pinki Jangra has backed Nikhat Zareen’s demand for a fair trial for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and wondered why the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) was tweaking the rules and favouring six-time champion Mary Kom.

Speaking to IANS, Pinki said, “On Thursday, I came to know that Mary Kom would not be competing in the trials and will be directly sent to the qualifiers. This is not right. The same thing happened before the World Championships. We had then also raised our concerns but we were told that rules are different for different tournaments and that trials would be conducted for qualifiers.”

Mary Kom has maintained that she would go by the decision taken by the federation, which had earlier stated that only the gold and silver-winners from the world event would be given direct selection for the Olympic qualifiers.

“What are we doing here? We have also come into the camp as national champions. I had defeated Mary Kom in the trials before 2014 Commonwealth Games. Then there’s no reason why I cannot defeat her again. I know she is a legend and I have huge respect for her. But if she is a legend, then why is she not competing in trials? We will feel satisfied if she defeats us and goes to the Qualifiers.”

“We also have the same goal as qualifying for the Olympics just like Mary Kom. We also want to represent India at the world stage but for that we need an opportunity first,” she added.

Pinki, the 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, further said that she has demanded a clarification from her coaches as to why the rules are being changed. “If I don’t get a clarification, I will write to the BFI. If by Monday I don’t get a response, I will personally go and meet the BFI President.”

Nikhat had written a letter to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Thursday, demanding that she should be given a trial bout against Mary Kom before the Indian squad for next year’s Olympic qualifiers in China is decided.

Rijiju, however, steered clear of the controversy, saying he can only ask the federation to decide what is best for the nation and athletes.

This was after the BFI stated that it intends to pick Mary Kom (51kg) for the Tokyo Olympic qualifiers slated to be held in Wuhan from February 3 to 14 on the back of her recent bronze medal at the world championships in Russia.

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Australia suspends Olympic bid amid COVID-19 recovery

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Sydney, May 25 (IANS) Australia’s Queensland has suspended its bid to host the 2032 Olympics recently as the state government focuses on economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed the bid process had been paused, reports Xinhua news agency.

“It’s just on hold. I wouldn’t read too much into that,” Palaszczuk told reporters last weekend.

“We’re focused absolutely on the economic recovery at the moment.”

The Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) said it fully supported the Queensland government’s position in placing the Brisbane 2032 candidature on hold.

AOC President John Coates said in a recent statement that meetings of the Olympic Candidature Leadership Group (OCLG) scheduled earlier this year were deferred, allowing governments to focus on dealing with COVID-19.

Coates said he’d proposed to OCLG members that the meetings would not proceed while all three levels of governments dealt with the pandemic.

He also told the AOC Annual General Meeting on May 9 that discussions with the IOC on the candidature would resume when appropriate.

“We all understand there are pressing issues of public health and community wellbeing for governments to address,” Coates said.

“The candidature will have its role to play in terms of jobs and growth in the Queensland economy once we have seen our way through the current crisis.”

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‘Hockey has lost its brightest star’: Balbir Singh Sr passes away

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Balbir Singh Senior

New Delhi, May 25 (IANS) Hockey India has expressed condolences on the sad demise of legendary player Balbir Singh Sr who breathed his last on Monday morning in Mohali. The triple Olympic Champion and World Cup-winning team manager had been battling for life since May 8 when he was hospitalised.

“Today, we have not only lost our greatest hockey legend but we have also lost ‘our guiding light’. While his achievements in post-independent era have been well-documented, Balbir Sr remained the greatest fan of the sport and was always there when we needed his advice. Hockey has lost its brightest star and everyone at Hockey India is pained by this news,” said Hockey India President Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad.

He further said: “Balbir Singh Sr’s exemplary achievements, his passion for the sport, his life as an icon of the game will remain an example for generations to come. On behalf of the federation, I express my deepest condolences to his family.”

He was the most decorated athlete in Indian sports history with Olympic medals in 1948, 1952 and 1956 Summer Games. He coached the Indian team which won the bronze medal at the 1971 World Cup and was manager of the Indian team that won the gold medal at the 1975 World Cup.

He had scored five goals in India’s 6-1 victory over the Netherlands in the gold medal match of the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Under his captaincy, India scored 38 goals and conceded none on its way to the gold medal in 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

Beating England 4-0 in their own backyard during the final of the 1948 Olympic Games as an independent nation was Balbir Sr’s ‘greatest moment’.

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Former Pak batsman Taufeeq Umar tests positive for COVID-19

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New Delhi, Former Pakistan opener Taufeeq Umar tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. Umar featured in 44 Tests and 12 ODIs, amassing 2,963 and 504 runs respectively for Pakistan.

He played his last international match in 2014, a Test against New Zealand in Dubai.

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