Indian boxer MC Mary Kom’s quest to qualify for the upcoming Rio Olympics ended with a defeat in the second round of the ongoing AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan.
A bronze medallist at the 2012 London Olympics, Mary lost 0-2 to Germany’s Azize Nimani in the second round of an event in which she had to reach at least the semi-final to make the cut for the Rio Olympics in Brazil, which will be held from August 5-21. In her opening bout on Friday, Mary had successfully defeated Sweden’s Juliana Soderstrom 3-0, but lost to Nimani, who was declared the winner on a split vote.
Mary was first training in New Delhi, before going to Pune for her final preparations for Rio. “I try to feel strong mentally. Despite all the problems and stress I have faced, I always control the pressure. God is always with me and most importantly, the entire nation is supporting me. So, I am not worried about the mental pressure that I might face in Rio,” the 33-year-old had said in a telephonic interview.
The five-time world champion was training in Pune, where she was following a strict training schedule under the watchful eyes of British coach Charles Atkinson and personal trainer Chhote Lal Yadav, who is from the Army Sports Institute, Pune and a former South Asian Games gold-medallist. “He (Atkinson) was with me for my preparations in the last Olympics as well. They are giving their best to make sure my preparations are on track. Both of them have been really helpful,” said Mary.
Having trained under both Indian and foreign coaches, Mary said it was important to get the mixture of coaching right. “Some of them are very excellent. I can’t say that all the coaches are good. But Indian coaches have had an important contribution in my performance,” she added.
The final few months of her preparation for Rio had coincided with the ongoing turmoil over a proposed new boxing federation in the country. But speaking at the launch of a sports apparel brand in the capital in February this year, Mary had said that she was only focusing on her boxing and staying away from any lingering controversies. “My job is to make sure that I give my 100% in the ring and stay fit,” said the Indian pugilist, who was ranked 9th in the International Boxing Association’s Women’s Fly (48-51 kg) category as of April 25, 2016. She was also named as one of the ambassadors for this year’s tournament in Astana.
Rio might have been Mary’s last shot at Olympic glory. In September last year, the dimunitive boxer from Manipur had said she would retire after the Rio games.