Queen Mary bags gold in style

Indian boxer beats Kazakh opponent Zhaina in flyweight category to grab an elusive medal

Queen Mary bags gold in style

 MC Mary Kom, the Queen of Indian boxing, added the 17th Asian Games to her list of conquests in splendid fashion here on Wednesday.

An inspiration to not just Indians but millions of women across the globe with her stupendous feats, the five-time world champion won a scrappy flyweight (48-51 kg) duel by split decision against Kazakhstan’s Zhaina Shekerbekova to claim one of the few titles that has eluded her -- an Asian Games gold. 

Failing to make the squad for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the 31-year-old mother of three arrived here with great determination and it was completely visible against Zhaina.

A former Asian champion herself, the 24-year-old Zhaina started in a very confident fashion, catching Mary Kom cold with her speed and execution. The moment the Indian opened up, the Kazakh was quick to pounce on her, landing punches and jabs before retreating to defend. Competing in her first tournament since winning the bronze medal at the London Olympics, Mary Kom faced stiff challenge, to which she responded in brilliant fashion and clinched the cherished medal.

She quickly assessed her opponent during the break and came roaring back in the second round. Attacking in short bursts, she had the Kazakh girl off balance many times with her strong and accurate punches. She hooked and jabbed superbly, the confidence and swagger growing with every swing of the arm.

Starting from where she had left off, Mary Kom began the third round in dominating fashion, stinging Zhaina with three major blows to the face. In an effort to lay blows of her own, Zhaina opened up in the third and that turned bout into a street fight. Zhaina made some blows on Mary Kom but her high-risk strategy also presented the seasoned Indian a chance and she seized it with her tactical superiority, clinching the third round as well.

The final round was a feisty one too with both going for broke. They kept squabbling and trading blows, hoping to land a few more than the other. Ugly at times but fun for the spectators, the two pushed and pulled as well with referee having to intervene a couple of times.

Not the one to buckle down from a scrap, Mary Kom used her quickness to a nicety, escaping from most of Zhaira’s attempts but effecting some punches, swinging the final round in her favour as well.

The moment the bell rang, Mary Kom knew she had added another feather to her already overcrowded cap although there was some tension. It soon turned to relief and joy when referee raised her hands, signalling her victory. 

 “I dedicate this medal to all the people of India,” said Mary Kom, clutching her arms in pain. “I also want to thank our Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal for encouraging and motivating me. He just said go and get a medal. Here I am with a gold!”

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