The thirty-five-year-old Mary Kom won her sixth World championship gold and seventh overall on 24 November 2018 in New Delhi, to become the joint-most decorated pugilist ever in the history in the boxing world championships. She tied the record of Felix Savon, the Cuban boxing legend.
However, the six-time world champion has won only one Olympic medal, a bronze at 2012 London Olympics. This article explains the reasons behind the same.
Even though men’s boxing has been a regular feature of the Summer Olympics since 1904, with the sole exception of 1912, it took more than a hundred years for the Olympics to give the recognition to women’s boxing.
Even when women’s boxing was introduced in the Olympics in 2012, it was for only three weight categories, unlike the men’s boxing event at the Olympics where men competed in a whopping ten categories! The weight categories for women at the Olympics were in 51, 60 and 75 kg categories.
In all her life, Mary Kom has usually competed in lower categories, with 46 and 48 kg categories being her most preferred ones. These are the categories in which she has won almost all her medals, most of which are of a golden hue.
Anybody who has some knowledge of boxing, knows how difficult it is for a boxer of lower weight category to compete in a higher weight category. It’s not just a matter of fighting with bigger players, but also with taller players.
However, when the Olympics decided to enter women’s boxing into the fray in 2012, her preferred weight categories were missing. Instead, the closest to her category was the 51 kg category.
The champion that she is, she took it on her chin, gained the extra kilos and started preparing for the 51 kg event. She not only qualified for the Olympics but also managed to win a bronze medal at London.
She failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympics, and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is the last chance for the aging champion at getting an Olympic gold. She knows that despite all her talent, this may be a goal too far. After winning an unprecedented sixth gold medal at the World Championships in Delhi, she said as much in her post-match interview.
She will nevertheless remain one of the greatest champions that the world has ever seen – with or without an Olympic gold.Published 26 Nov 2018, 12:25 IST