Mary Kom exits the Olympic ring with a wide smile and displaying true sporting spirit
Mary Kom fell to a 2-3 defeat on a split decision against the 2016 Rio de Janeiro bronze medallist Ingrit Valencia Victoria to be knocked out of the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
It was a bittersweet moment for the Indians, who were expecting their star to move into the quarterfinals and stay on course for her second Olympic medal, but was shown the exit door in just the second round of the Women's Flyweight division at the Kokugikan arena.
The bout was close, very close. It was impossible to predict who crossed the hurdle until the final decision of the five judges were out. While the match went in favour of the Columbian, the 38-year-old Indian was no less.
In fact, if we take a look at the rounds won, Mary Kom was comfortably the winner. But, then that's just not how things work in boxing. Nobody knows how things work in boxing; except the officials and the Boxing Task Force (BTF), which is filling in for the suspended International Boxing Federation (AIBA) in Tokyo - a sentiment echoed by Kom's coach Chhote Lal Yadav.
Though there certainly were questions raised on social media about the bout, especially the first round, which Mary Kom lost, it did not really matter as there is no provision for an official protest at the Tokyo Olympics.
While the Indian fans would certainly feel the result should have been in their favour for a long, long time, Mary Kom knew it is not going to be immediately after the Columbian Ingrit Valencia Victoria was adjudged the winner.
The Indian did certainly seem confident at the end of the bout. In fact, the 2012 Olympics bronze medallist even raised her hand the Columbian was named the winner. But, nobody knows what was going through her mind at that point in time.
Yes, it is completely fine to feel that the result was unfair to you. But, it is important to move on; and this is exactly what Mary Kom showcased moments after.
Once she realised her campaign had ended, Mary Kom let off a smile. A very wide one.
She then proceeded to hug the Columbian and exchanged a few words of appreciation, acknowledged the crowd present while the camera panned to ecstatic Ingrit Victoria Valencia.
It all happened in a matter of seconds, and before the Indian fans could realise what had just happened, the camera once again panned to Mary Kom walking off the ring disappointed, for one last time in her Olympic career.
As per the existing AIBA rules, the age limit for boxers to compete at the Olympics is 40. Mary Kom is 38-year-old currently and will be 41 by the time the 2024 Paris Games approaches.
This is certainly not how Indians would have wanted their star to bow out of the Olympics forever, but then it is what it is.
But on the brighter side, the final footage of Mary Kom at the Olympics would be of her with a wide smile on her face; smiling even after a tough loss and setting an example of what the true sporting spirit is for the generations to come.