'I don't know what happened. I thought in the first round we were both trying to figure out our strategies and I won the next two.'
How does one end up losing despite winning?
Sounds odd? This is what happened to one of India's greatest sportspersons in her final Olympics outing.
Six-time World champion M C Mary Kom's pursuit of a second Olympic medal ended in the pre-quarter-finals of the Tokyo Games after she went down to Colombia’s Ingrit Valencia, the 2016 edition's bronze-medallist, in a fiercely-fought flyweight (48-51kg) showdown on Thursday.
The funny part, Mary Kom actually won two of the three rounds.
"I don't know what happened. I thought in the first round we were both trying to figure out our strategies and I won the next two," said the perplexed legend after the bout.
She trailed 4-1 in the opening round, with four of the five judges scoring it 10-9 in Valencia’s favour.
In the next two, Mary Kom got three of the five judges to rule in her favour, but the overall scoreline went Valencia’s way.
The Manipuri clinched the third round too but, once again, it was 3-2 and not 4-1 which is what she needed to swing the final score in her favour.
The 38-year-old, a multiple-time Asian champion and bronze-winner from the 2012 London Olympics, lost 2-3 despite giving it her all in what could now be her final Olympic bout.
Mary Kom, exhausted after the intense clash, had tears in her eyes and a wide smile on her face when the referee raised Valencia's hand at the end of the bout.
Despite the heartbreak, she said she has no plans to call it quits just yet.
"I can still fight; I am still strong enough. If you have willpower (you can fight). Of course, training is also important along with discipline. I have been fighting for 20 years," she said.
"Manipuri people have fighting spirit, both men and women. But women have extra," laughed the mother of four, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP.
The way Valencia rushed in when the first bell rang, it was quite obvious that the bout would be high voltage and it was exactly how it turned out to be.
The two attacked each other from the word go and Valencia seemed determined to avenge her previous two losses to the icon.
Mary Kom fought back to claim the second and the third rounds, landing her trademark right hooks to perfection. She also deserves credit for keeping the intensity consistently high despite the draining fight.
"I don't understand this scoring system. How did she lose the first round 1-4 when there was hardly anything separating these two," National assistant coach and Mary Kom's personal trainer Chhote Lal Yadav said.
"It is a disappointment, but that's luck I guess," he added.
The Indian had earlier beaten Valencia in the 2019 World Championships quarter-finals.
Like Mary Kom, the 32-year-old Valencia is a trailblazer for her country.
She is the first female boxer to represent Colombia at the Olympic Games, as well as the nation's first female boxer to win an Olympic medal.