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Sports Shorts: Mary Kom to retire after Tokyo Olympics

Last updated on: June 06, 2019 18:09 IST

Summary of sports events and persons who made news on Thursday.

MC Mary Kom

IMAGE: MC Mary Kom has won six World Championships, an Olympic bronze medal, and five Asian Championships. Photograph: PTI

After years of speculation over her retirement, six-time world champion MC Mary Kom on Thursday said she plans to hang her gloves after winning the elusive gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

The 36-year-old has been the inspiring force in Indian boxing. In her 18-year long illustrious career, she has won six World Championships, an Olympic bronze medal, and five Asian Championships.

Besides being an active and top-level boxer, she is also a sitting Rajya Sabha MP.

"After 2020 I want to retire. So my main mission is to get a gold for India. I really really want to win ( gold)," Mary Kom said.

 

Mary Kom, who won the the bronze medal in the flyweight category at the 2012 London Olympics, is aiming to change the shade of her medal to gold in Tokyo.

"I always try my best to give a medal to the country and if possible a gold. I will be starting my preparation for the Olympic qualifiers and the World Championship. I want to win a gold medal this time."

The boxing fraternity is facing tumultuous conditions in the run up to the Olympics next year. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has stripped the International Boxing Association (AIBA) from hosting events at the Tokyo Olympics.

The IOC has announced that it will prepare a new calendar for Olympic qualifiers between January and May next year and it may even have a re-look at the weight categories. Indian pugilists are stuck in a limbo but Mary Kom feels it is beneficial for her if the qualifiers are held next year.

"It is actually better for me I will get more time to prepare," she said.

"We are training regularly for all competitions not just the Olympics. In the World Championship, I will get to know the opponents, what their strengths and weaknesses are. Accordingly I can prepare. I will also get extra time for preparing if the qualifiers are held later."

After failing to qualify for the Rio Games, Mary Kom had changed her weight category to 48kg in December 2016 but now the pugilist from Manipur is back to competing in the 51kg.

Asked about the transition, Mary Kom said: "51kg category is not new for me. I was fighting in this category 4-5 years back. It was not continuous because I kept changing my weight."

Sindhu knocked out as India's campaign ends

PV Sindhu

IMAGE: PV Sindhu best performance this season has been a semi-final place at the India Open Super 500 tournament. Photograph: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Olympic and world championship silver medallist P V Sindhu made a second round exit from the Australian Open, suffering a straight-game loss in what turned out to be a dismal day for Indian shuttlers, in Sydney, on Thursday.

Sindhu was the last to fall, following the ouster of sixth seeded compatriots Sameer Verma, B Sai Praneeth and the men's doubles pair of Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty.

Later in the day, former Commonwealth Games champion Parupalli Kashyap's gallant fight against Chinese legend Lin Dan also ended in a heartbreak to draw curtains on India's campaign.

World No 5 Sindhu, who is still looking for the first title of the season, could not get across Nitchaon Jindapol, ranked 29th, and lost 19-21, 18-21 in a 49-minute match. This was her second loss to the Thailand player in seven meetings.

Earlier, world number 12 Sameer went down 16-21, 21-7, 13-21 to former top 10 player Wang Tzu Wei of Chinese Taipei, while Praneeth put up a brave fought in the opening game before surrendering 23-25, 9-21 to second seed Anthony Sinisuka Ginting in a 42-minute clash.

Satwiksairaj and Chirag tried hard against second seeds Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen, before losing 19-21, 18-21 in a close contest.

Kashyap also found the going tough against two-time former Olympic champion Lin Dan, losing 17-21, 22-20, 14-21 in a hard-fought contest.

Sindhu was pegged back 1-5 in the first game but she recovered to grab a slender 11-9 advantage at the break. Jindapol, however, came back to erase the deficit and move to a 16-12 lead.

Sindhu battled hard till 19-19 before Jindapol closed the opening game in her favour.

The Indian revived hopes of a reversal when she led 14-11 at one stage, but Jindapol again came back strongly, ekeing out an 18-14 advantage.

Sindhu narrowed the lead to 18-19 but Jindapol soon shut the door on her rival.

The Hyderabadi shuttler's best performance this season has been a semi-final place at the India Open Super 500 tournament.

New sports minister promised early resolution: IOA chief Batra

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra said new sports minister Kiren Rijiju has promised to try for an "early resolution" to the International Olympic Committee's ban on India from hosting global events.

In February, the IOC suspended all Indian applications to host future events and urged international sports federations not to stage competitions in the country after two Pakistani shooters were denied visas to compete in New Delhi at the World Cup following the Pulwama terror attack.

Imposing the suspension, the IOC said the denial of visas was against the principles of the Olympic Charter.

According to the IOC, the ban will not be lifted until the Indian government provides guarantees that no athlete would be denied visas in events held in the country.

"Mr Ajay Singh President Boxing Federation of India and I, met with the Hon'ble Sports Minister of India Mr Kiren Rijiju at his residence office on 5th June and briefed him on the ban imposed by IOC in relation to hosting of all International Sports Events in India since February 2019.

"Hon'ble Minister understood the issue and assured us of all his support for trying for an early resolution," Batra said.

Batra, who is also heading the International Hockey Federation (FIH), was accompanied to the sports minister's residence by Indian Boxing Federation chief Ajay Singh on Wednesday.

"...Invited him to visit Bhubaneshwar on 15th June to witness the finals of World Series Hockey which is a Qualifier for final Qualification round for Tokyo 2020," Batra said.

The attack in Jammu and Kashmir's Pulwama killed at least 40 CRPF paramilitary personnel and India alleged that it was carried out by a Pakistan-based terror outfit.

The IOC, though, went strictly by its rule book while imposing the suspension on India, urging all international sports federations not to hold events or grant hosting rights to the country for future competitions, until the government had provided "clear written guarantees" to ensure access for all athletes.

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