Magnificent Mary guarantees medal

London: M C Mary Kom created history on Monday as she assured India of its fourth Olympic medal after winning her quarterfinal boxing bout against Maroua Rahali of Tunisia by a 15-6 margin in the women’s 51 kg category here.

The five-time world champion and the face of women’s boxing in India for the past decade has now been assured of at least a bronze medal in the inaugural edition of women’s boxing at the Games. She will also be the third Indian woman after Karnam Malleswari and Saina Nehwal to win an Olympic medal.

Someone who enjoys an iconic status in the North East , the performance of the 29-year old Manipuri woman, who is mother of twin boys, will surely encourage many more from the region to take up the sport.

‘Magnificent Mary’, as she is known in the boxing fraternity, fought in a calculated manner as she used the first round to sort out her Tunisian opponent and then slowly upped the ante in the subsequent three rounds.

The first round was a quiet affair with Mary gaining a slender 2-1 lead. A couple of meaty blows in the second round helped her increase the lead to 5-3.

However, just like on Sunday, when she launched a furious assault on her Polish opponent Karolina in the third round, Mary employed the same strategy in the third round.

A couple of right hooks followed by a lethal left hook was enough to soften up the big-bodied Tunisian girl who was trying to use her long reach to keep her Indian opponent at bay.

The 11-4 scoreline in the third round was the decisive lead that Mary needed as it is never easy to erase a 7-point deficit without a knock-out.

The last round was all about keeping her cool, although Mary at times was tempted to punch her opponent in the back of her head, inviting a caution from the referee. Still she managed to clinch the round with a 4-2 score and the final margin of 15-6 was certainly a convincing way to get into the semifinal.

“I am extremely happy. Now I hope my dreams will come true. For the past year I have been dreaming of an Olympic medal and now I am ready,” the Manipur-born boxer said after her bout.

Mary Kom said that she had been training with boys to be able to cope with her rivals at the Olympics.

“I will try for a silver. After that let’s see. For the last three or four years, I have been training with boys taller and heavier than me. It has helped a lot.

“Now I am not really tired, but yesterday was hard. I am getting into the groove and hopefully will be able to deliver when it matters the most. I am eagerly looking forward to that,” Mary said.

For the mum, who missed her twins’ fifth birthday on Sunday, this is supposed to be the most precious birthday gift they received from their mother. Rechungvar and Khupneivarand should not be complaining. (PTI)

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