Medal assured, Mary vows to give best in semis
It's the biggest victory of her career. She waited for a long time for this moment, working tirelessly for it. And when she finally made sure of an Olympic medal her joy knew no bounds.
"I am so, so, so happy," a delighted M C Mary Kom screamed, after winning her women's 51 kg flyweight quarter-final against Maroua Rahali of Tunisia at the London Games on Monday.
That 15-6 victory assured her of at least a bronze and made real her dream of winning an Olympic medal.
India already have a silver (Vijay Kumar) and two bronze medals (from Gagan Narang and Saina Nehwal). Mary's medal will swell the tally at the ongoing Games to four - the country's best medal haul at an Olympics, bettering the Beijing Games' return of a gold and two bronze medals.
"Today I am really happy that I have won a medal for my country. I will try my best in the semi-finals to get a bigger medal. I will give my best," Mary said.
"This is the first time women's boxing is included in the Olympics. It was not easy, because we were waiting for women's boxing to be included in the Olympics. It was a long wait for us," added the Manipur lady, who has five World Championships titles under her belt.
Image: India's Mary Kom, right, fights Tunisia's Maroua Rahali during a women's flyweight 51-kg quarter-final boxing match
Photographs: Patrick Semansky/AP
Mary Kom wants 48 kg category to be included in the Olympics
Mary had to jump a weight category, to 51kg, to make the cut because her previous weight category of 48kg was not included for Games.
"In the previous categories I have been World champion five times, but in this category I have been fighting for only two years. I am gaining weight and it is not very easy to gain weight. Reducing weight is slightly easy, but putting on is not easy, because if I have eat too much then digestion is a problem and so many other problems," said the 29-year-old.
She insists that had the 48 kg category been introduced in the Olympics she would have surely won gold.
"I used to fight in the 46 and 48 kg categories. For the last two years I have been fighting in the 51 kg. If the 48 kg is introduced in the Olympics then I am sure I will be a champion. But there is no 46 or 48 kg, only 51 kg category," she declared.
Image: Mary Kom (Blue) of India competes against Maroua Rahali (Red) of Tunisia during the Women's Fly (51kg) Boxing Quarter-finals
Photographs: Scott Heavey/Getty Images
'I really missed my coach Charles Atkinson'
Mary said she missed her English coach, Charles Atkinson, who could not witness the bout because he got stuck in Liverpool due to a family problem.
"Today I really missed my coach Charles Atkinson from Liverpool. He didn't come because of some family problem, but he will come for the semi-finals. I also want to thank my Indian coach Anup Kumar.
"Before every bout I talk to my coach Atkinson. He has been giving my strategies and tactics and telling me what I have to do against the taller boxers, against the stronger boxers or against the shorter boxers.
"Every second he is telling me how to attack or how to counter attack," the ace boxer informed.
Image: India's Mary Kom embraces Maroua Rahali of Tunisia after defeating her in their quarter-finals
Photographs: Murad Sezer/Reuters
Mary next faces Nicola Adams of Great Britain
She said the medal will be a gift for her two sons, Raengpe and Naidong, who celebrated their fifth birthday on Sunday.
"I speak to them everyday. I wished them yesterday. Winning my first bout at the Olympics yesterday was the first gift, and this medal is the second gift for them," she said.
Mary next faces a very difficult opponent in Nicola Adams of Great Britain, who beat her in this year's World Championships and is also regarded the favourite for the gold medal.
Asked about her chances in the semi-finals, she replied, "I am confident for my next bout, winning or losing is another thing, but I will give my best. This is a game and one boxer will win, one will lose."
Image: Nicola Adams
Photographs: Murad Sezer/Reuters