Six-time world champion MC Mary Kom has been named among 10 athletes in an Olympic Boxing Task Force who will engage with and represent boxers in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics 2020. One female and one male ambassador per region has been named with Mary Kom representing Asian region alongside Chinese Jianguan Hu.

“It is a huge honour, sort of an achievement but also a responsibility because I have to work towards helping my fellow athletes. I will try to do my best as always,” Mary Kom told PTI.

“It’s funny that I have been named in this group at a time when there is a negative campaign against me for no good reason,” said the veteran, referring to the former junior world champion Nikhat Zareen’s demand for a trial bout against her before the team for next year’s Olympic qualifiers is decided.

The Athlete Ambassadors Group was announced in August this year to “provide valuable athlete input and feedback to the Task Force and promote the athlete voice and representation in boxing, for Tokyo 2020 and beyond.”

The first step for athletes to be selected by the BTF was a joint nomination by the respective National Olympic Committee (NOC), NOC Athletes’ Commission and National Federation (NF), International Olympic Committee said in a statement.

Other requirements included having competed at international competitions in the past four years; being born no later than 31 December 2001; being an amateur or professional boxer; and not having incurred any measure or sanction in relation to any violation of the Olympic Charter, the IOC Code of Ethics, the World Anti-Doping Code or other applicable regulations issued by the IOC, an International Federation (IF), an NF or an NOC.

“In all of the work of the Boxing Task Force we want to put boxers first. We are delighted with this group of diverse and inspirational athletes who make up the Athlete Ambassadors, and look forward to working closely with them in all areas of our decisions and event planning to make sure the athletes are not only at the centre of our work, but also actively engaged in it,” Morinari Watanabe, IOC member and Chair of the Boxing Task Force said in a statement.

The Athletes Ambassadors’ Group

Women: Khadija Mardi (Africa), Mikaela Mayer (Americas), M C Mary Kom (Asia), Sarah Ourahmoune (Europe), Shelley Watts (Oceania)

Men: Lukmo Lawal (Africa), Julio Cesar La Cruz (Americas), Jianguan Hu (Asia), Vasyl Lamachenko (Europe), David Nyika (Oceania)