Mary Kom vows to keep fighting despite 'unfair' Olympic exit

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Image: PTI

New Delhi: Incensed at the judges' decision that ended her Olympic dreams, Indian boxing icon Mary Kom has vowed to keep fighting for another two years.

The six-time world champion lost a close fight to Colombia's Ingrit Valencia in the last 16 of the women's 51kg in her final Olympic appearance in Tokyo on Thursday.

The 38-year-old, a legend in her home country where she is known as "Magnificent Mary", is so angry at the scoring that she said she may quit as a member of a task force meant to be improving boxing's image at the Tokyo Olympics.

"In my mind, I thought I had won. The bout was not too close," Kom said.

"I don't know why the first round was 4-1 (in Valencia's favour); there was no fighting, there were no clear punches.

"I won the second and third rounds so when two rounds are mine, I should win. Why should they give it to her?"

India put on a brave face for its favourite athlete. Sports Minister Anurag Thakur tweeted "you are a legend" for the bronze medal Kom won at the 2012 London Olympics.

Kom failed to qualify for the 2016 Rio Games and Tokyo was the last chance to get the gold she feels she deserves.

She said she will consider quitting as one of 10 athletes advising an International Olympic Committee boxing task force that organised the Tokyo event after the IOC suspended its recognition of boxing's scandal-tainted world body.

"I gave a suggestion to the members of the task force to have free and fair judges in big games," Kom was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.

"I pointed this out all the time. Now, I don't know why I have received this kind of unfair judgement. So, I will maybe give my resignation and no longer be a part of the task force."

The mother of four from Manipur state whose life has been told in a Bollywood movie, said she will keep fighting.

"I have time till 40," she said. "There will be competitions like the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, so I will keep fighting till then."

Kom will not be able to compete in the 2024 Olympics in Paris due to age restrictions.

Under international boxing regulations, 40 is the upper limit for competing at national and international levels.

Kom was first Indian woman boxer to win an Asian Games gold medal in 2014 and also triumphed at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

India could yet discover a new women's boxing hero as Lovlina Borgohain on Friday assured the country of at least a bronze by beating Chinese Taipei's Nien-Chin Chen 4-1 in the 69kg contest to reach the semi-finals.


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