Boxing Federation of India President Ajay Singh on Saturday said the BFI conducted a free and fair trial to pick the women’s squad for the Olympic Qualifiers and made light of the drama that unfolded after M C Mary Kom defeated Nikhat Zareen.

Six-time world champion Mary Kom defeated Nikhat Zareen in a 9-1 verdict to make the squad for the Olympic qualifiers in the 51kg category. The two boxers did not share customary pleasantries after the contest owing to the controversy-ridden build-up to the bout, during which it was insinuated that Mary Kom was trying to evade a clash with Zareen.

Tension was also palpable outside the ring where supporters of Zareen, including representatives of the Telangana Boxing Association and a local politician from the state, raised slogans denouncing the result. Singh walked over to them and asked them to leave the ringside.

“Her supporters were a little agitated but it’s all in good spirit. Bit of excitement is always there. I am glad that there was such intensity,” Singh told reporters after the proceedings ended.

On Mary Kom rebuffing an attempted hug by Zareen after the bout, Singh observed, “Every human being has emotions. She is also a human. I think we shouldn’t be so judgemental about it.”

“Good that it was an open trial and everyone could see. We had 10 judges to ensure the highest standards of fairness and impartiality. There were representatives from every side. Anyone could come and watch. We delivered on the promise that it would be a fair trial,” he said.

“I don’t think there can be anything fairer than this. The boxers who have won today are absolutely the best in India. Those who lost are also very good and they will get their chance in due time.”

Singh indicated that the squad for the second and final Olympic qualifiers in May, would be decided by trials if those who go to the February 3 to 14 qualifiers in China, do not make the cut.

“We have a very good bench strength now and one can gauge that from the intensity of the competition right now,” he said.