London Olympics: Mary Kom through to semis, assured of bronze

first_imgMC Mary Kom is turning out to be the cerebral fighter at the London Olympics. Up against the tall and strapping Maroua Rahali from Tunisia, the diminutive Indian used a solid strategy to outpunch her opponent 15-6 and assured herself of a bronze medal.The Excel arena was again packed with Indians and had the commentators raving about the achievements of Mary Kom, whose popularity in London has increased manifold.Wearing blue gear and with a spring in her feet, Mary Kom realised that winning an Olympic medal is not about just punching hard, but using the head as well.”I am thrilled that I am assured of a bronze medal. What makes it special is this is the first one in the 51kg category,” said Mary Kom, who has been in touch with professional coach Charles Atkinson on phone in Liverpool daily. She said the two had been discussing strategies regularly.Up against the five feet and six inches tall Rahali, Mary Kom took time to gauge her opponent. There was no bravado about her approach and fleet-footed Mary did well in the first round to understand what her opponent was going to throw at her.The Indian’s slick footwork caught the eye again as she stayed away from the ‘punching zone’ of her opponent. Mary earned her first two points in style and did not exactly open out, hitting her punches but winning in a measured manner.Mary Kom had a strong guard to show in a tight second round where either boxer was not willing to take chances. Rahali, predominantly a southpaw, may have hoped to score points with her better reach. But full credit to Mary Kom for not doing anything dangerous as caution was the watchword.advertisementIt was a very different Mary Kom the Excel arena supporters saw in the third round. The vocal support for Mary Kom grew loud and the Indian responded beautifully. Realising that Rahali was not doing much damage, Mary Kom waded into her opponent and scored vital clean points. She registered five points in this period and went to the corner at the break with a smile on her face.Yet, Mary Kom realised there was no room for complacency in the fourth round, where her energy level was still high. The Indian used a solid punching strategy to get the better of the Tunisian in the last round with four vital points.Up next for Mary Kom is Britain’s Nicola Adams. The crowd support will be there for the Briton, but Mary Kom is not bothered.”I am aware I have to do my best and see if I can get silver. Let me tell you one thing, having moved to a higher weight category, it’s tough as I can’t put on weight,” said Mary Kom.”Competing in the Olympics and now being assured of a medal is a dream come true for me. I have been training with boys taller and heavier than me and it has helped a lot,” added the five-time world champion.Lest one thinks this has been an easy effort for Mary Kom, she was quick to add: “I have only been fighting at this weight for 51kg since a short time. It’s so hard,” said the Manipuri star.From the Indian point of view, Mary Kom’s bronze has assured the country its best haul at an Olympics. This is also the first time at an Olympics that two Indian women are winning medals. Saina Nehwal was the first to do so when she won bronze on Saturday.HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE BOUT:Samip Rajguru: “Best ever olympics for India confirmed.”Samip Rajguru: “Final score 15-6. Mary you rule the ring!”S Kannan: “Mary Kom scores well against the tall Tunisian. Mukkee pe mukkaa!”Samip Rajguru: “Mary wins in a style! One more bronze confirmed, but we are looking at gold. Nicola Adams is next for her in the semi-finals.”Samip Rajguru: “Mary fighting like a tigress… and leading like one too! Her opponent from Tunisia is the prey.” India Today: Three round of domination by Mary Kom. She has now stretched her lead to 11-4. Surely, she can’t lose it from here now. Just one more round to go. Gaurav Gala: “5-3 in favour of Mary after two rounds. More of the same please Mary.” India Today: This is amazing boxing by Mary Kom. She is bringing all her experience to the ring here. Superb show gives her a 5-3 lead after two rounds. A bronze medal is almost withing grasp. advertisementIndia Today: It’s a great start for Mary Kom. She has taken a slender, but important, lead in the first round for a 2-1 lead. Samip Rajguru: “Mary prayed before the bout for about 20 seconds. I will ask her and tell you about it after the bout.”Gaurav Gala: “Biggest cheer of the night just went up for Mary.” Samip Rajguru: “Excel arena is full with Indian supporters for Mary Kom. About 3 mins to start guy.”Gaurav Gala: “Mary Kom’s bout up next… Atnicipation at fever pitch now.”Aaj Tak Sports Editor Samip Rajguru: “Mary about to start in 5 mins…” India Today: Just a few minutes left for Mary Kom’s big fight. Her opponent is 24-year-old Maroua Rahali of Tunisia, who is fighting her first bout as she got a bye in the previous rounds. Mary had won her last fight 19-14.Mail Today Sports Editor S Kannan: “Mary Kom bout in afternoon. Are you ready?”Headlines Today Sports Editor Gaurav Gala: “India could gurantee two boxing medals today if Mary Kom and Vijender win their bouts.”last_img

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