Five times World Champion MC Mary Kom (51kg) had to settle for a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics after losing to reigning European Champion Nicola Adams of England at the Excel Arena on Wednesday (8 Aug 2012).†The 29 year old, who beat Maroua Rahali of Tunisia to advance to the round of four, exhibited great courage and determination throughout the tournament, but came up short in the semi-finals against the Briton.
Right from the beginning of the first round Mary found it difficult to get inside the line of defence of Adams, who enjoyed a greater height advantage as well as reach, and made full use of it. Because of this impediment the Indian relied more on her outside game and straight punches to do the damage. Mary intermittently shimmied towards the centre, looking to attack, but frequently got caught in the Britons counter strikes, which ultimately turned out to be the most damaging for her. Nicola, buoyed by a loud home support and the 2012 WC quarter-final win against Mary, quickly took a 3:1 lead in the first round. She soon extended the advantage in the second to 5:2, with help of a crashing left cross coupled with some hard hitting combinations. In the penultimate round Mary, the reigning Asian Champion changed her tactics to a more aggressive approach, but the English boxer was up to the task and managed to add on to her advantage. Down a decisive four point deficit, the Indian tired hard to make a comeback in the final round. But Adams was once again up to the challenge and parried around; landing a few blows of her own. In the end the former World Champion lost on points 11:6 and had to be content with a bronze medal finish.
Mary, a true legend of the sport, becomes one of only three Indian women athletes to win an Olympic medal. A shared third place spot at the biggest sporting extravaganza in the world says a lot about her.††The 29 year old mother of two jumped a weight division (from light fly weight 48kg) in order to fit into the Olympic program and was up against a taller opponent who stepped down a weight category (from bantam weight 54kg). This extraordinary feat, combined with a plethora of medals and accolades makes this diminutive fighter from Manipur a giant in the world of Women’s boxing.
The lone Indian boxer left in the fray Laishram Devendro Singh (49kg) will be seen in action in the evening session of play on Wednesday (8 Aug 2012) as he takes on Beijing Olympic bronze medallist and 2010 Commonwealth Games Champion Patrick Barnes of Ireland.