Whoever follows Indian sports closely knows how boxing great Mary Kom is a bonafide champion because of her grit and determination. The six-time world champion pugilist is leaving no stone unturned in her bid to win that elusive Olympic gold medal. In fact, she has reiterated constantly over the last couple of years, "There's no secret mantra for me to achieve at the World Championships or the Olympics. I will keep fighting and will not give up until I win the gold for India at the Olympics,"
The 38-year-old Khel Ratna awardee is eyeing a swansong at the Tokyo Olympics, the event she had to wait for one more year as it was postponed amid the outbreak of the COVID-19. The 2012 Olympics bronze medallist, cannot have a better departure from professional sport than wrapping up with the most coveted silverware in the world - the Olympic gold medal. Though one who is always exuberant about the Manipuri, believes the pugilist who has earned so much global recognition for India deserves an Olympic gold, it is easier in papers than it's been done.
Can Mary Kom win the Olympic gold?
To answer this question, one has to delve into the details of boxing and particularly the weight category Mary will be competing in. Mary has been taking part in the women's 51kg weight category since 2012, when women's boxing was first introduced in the Olympics Games in London.
Mary was among the eight boxers who had competed in the Games and finished third among the eight to bag the bronze. At the 2016 Rio Games, no one, including, Mary could qualify for the women's boxing event. Owing to its popularity, more competitors started taking up boxing for the Olympics and fought for 12 spots in the 51kg category. Mary couldn't sail through the qualifications and was left at home when a 117-member Indian contingent travelled to Rio.
Mary Kom (Source: Mary Kom/Facebook)
For Tokyo Olympics, Mary bagged a quota at Asia-Oceania Boxing Qualifiers in 2019, Jordan, and in the same year, she also finished with a bronze medal at the AIBA World Boxing Championship. Mary's qualification to the Olympics wasn't as 2016 because a total of 26 boxers will be playing in the event. However, the competitive scale will be much higher in Tokyo Olympics than what she had received in London 2012.
In London, Mary played her first match in the quarterfinal and reached the semifinal, and a semifinal entry ensured her a medal, which means she technically had to play just a single bout to earn a medal. The equation will be totally different in Tokyo, where she will have to win at least three bouts to make sure an entry into the semis, and then another two bouts to win the gold medal. Mary will have to win all five bouts to bag the coveted gold, which still looks difficult as she is not the best boxer in her category. Korea's Chol Mi Pang and Turkey's Busenaz Cakiroglu are ahead of her in the AIBA world rankings.
Therefore, Mary has to punch above her weight to win the gold medal. It doesn't look impossible. However, with age not by her side, Mary would face extremely stiff competition in her race to the gold medal. Maybe, another bronze medal, is practically what we can expect from her.