At 36, Mary Kom Knows No Defeat, Clinches India Open Boxing Gold

Flag bearers at Tokyo Olympics, Mary Kom

Mary Kom’s brilliance shone through once again when she spearheaded India’s gold rush (51kg) at the second India Open boxing tournament held at Guwahati on Friday, ANI reported. Other big names were Shiva Thapa (60kg), Amit Panghal (51kg) and L Sarita Devi who successfully won gold. All the four boxers are from the North-eastern states that have brought laurels to the region.

While Six-time world champion Kom defeated Vanlal Duati in a unanimous 5:0 verdict in the 51st kg category, World championship medallist Sarita Devi won gold medal after defeating Simranjit Kaur 3:2 by virtue of a split decision.

An emotional Sarita Devi won her first gold medal since her mother died in December last year. In fact, it was her first gold in three years.

“This gold belongs to my mother. I lost my dad early and my mother made me the boxer that I’m now. This gold has come after a long time. I’m missing her very much at this moment,” Sarita told TOI.

READ:What Makes Mary Kom’s Life So Inspirational, Every Single Day

Sarita Devi, who won a bronze at the Asian Championship earlier this year, won her eighth medal in the continental meet. She last won a gold at the 2016 South Asian Games in Shillong.

Kom, on the other hand, dominated the ring after her extraordinary game against former world junior champion Nikhat Zareen in semi-finals. Vanal Duati’ skills was no comparison against the six-time world champion as she remained compact. She attacked aggressively and Duati couldn’t do much.

“The quality of opponents was not as good this edition. Only when we have the best around, we are challenged in the ring,” the 36-year-old said. “There is a lot of potential in the youngsters.”

This was the London Olympic bronze medallist’s second gold from the India Open, adding to the 48kg gold she won last year in New Delhi.

Earlier in semi-finals, Kom, feeling disrespected by her opponent Nikhat, asked her to prove herself in the ring instead of making irritating comments. This comment came following Nikhat’s interaction with the media when she commented that she was excited to take on her ‘idol’ and she would “put up a strong fight by using her brain” in the India Open 51kg semi-finals. This comment did not go well by the celebrated Manipuri boxer and she replied, “Every bout is a new experience for me. Even I don’t know who this girl is. I’ve been fighting since many years now. I clearly want to say I don’t want all this. It has come out in the newspapers that she’s challenging me.”

“It is better to say that in a good way. They are so lucky to be fighting with me. They will get a lot of experience that way. I have been competing for the country for a long time. How many times have I proved myself?” she asked.

Kom further added, “She has won just one medal at the international level and such is her ego and attitude! They feel proud and satisfied. This is a very bad habit.”

Nikhat Zareen and Jyoti (60 kg) took the bronze medals for an all-Indian finish on the podium.

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