Mary Kom wins historic sixth World Championships gold

Mary Kom wins historic sixth World Championships gold

India's Mary Kom lands a punch in Ukrainian Hannah Okhota's face during their final bout in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI

M C Mary Kom walked in stone-faced to the ring, and the stadium, packed to the rafters, sang her name. Mary seemed to have blocked out all the noise. A lot was at stake for her. The phase that followed was tense and tight. It only eased when the hall lit up to announce her name one more time -- the winner of the unprecedented sixth Women’s World Championships title, and of the hearts of all those who flocked the stands to cheer for her.

Mary defeated Ukrainian Hannah Okhota by a unanimous decision in the 48 kg and added to her spate of historic feats which would safely stand the test of time.

Her compatriot Sonia Chahal, however, in her first Worlds final, had to be content with a silver medal in the 57kg category. She lost 4:1 to Gabriele Ornella Wahner of Germany in an intensely fought bout. India thus finished with one gold, one silver and two bronze medals.

The 35-year-old Mary, her head tilted against the hand raised by the referee, could only offer a weak smile. The chants of “Mary, Mary” echoed around the arena; the tri-colour fluttered under the vibrant hues of neon lights, and the bouncing, excited fans jostled to get close to her. Mary bowed in all the four directions and clenched a fist.

In no time, the concealed pressure of being Mary Kom gave away; the bright, sunny disposition was swept by a violent stab of emotions. Wrapped in the tricolour, she broke down in tears of joy and perhaps relief. She was no longer the stoic, fierce fighter one had witnessed inside the ring seconds before. As she removed her headgear, she also dropped her emotional defences. Suddenly she was the commoner; struggling to come to terms with her scale of achievement like all those sitting in the stands.

Some time away from the arena helped. When she returned to take her place on the podium, her broad grin was back. The sight of the flag and the notes of the national anthem briefly disturbed her composure, but this time she was quick to tame it. Within seconds, she was kissing her medal and wooing the fans in a manner only Mary Kom can.

The crowd joined in her victory. The chants of Mary Kom again echoed all around as if no one mattered more, as if Indian boxing is Mary Kom.

It was a bout befitting the final. It was one of the toughest bouts she faced in the Championships. She began strongly. She quickly got the measure of Hannah and clinched the round with her clean hitting. However, the Ukrainian, a bundle of power and aggressive punches, never stopped trying. She came back in the second round and Mary found herself combating an opponent with a strong counterattack.

Knowing the third round could be decisive, Mary flew out of the blue corner with purpose and fought with a flourish. She wrapped up the round with a couple of solid blows, and when the verdict was announced, the legend of Mary Kom had grown and left all those who had gathered in sheer awe of the indefatigable boxer.

Results (all finals):

48 kg: MC Mary Kom (Ind) bt Hanna Okhota (Ukr) 5:0. 51 kg: Pang Choi Mi (Prk) bt Zhaina Shekerbekova (Kaz). 54 kg: Lin Yu-Ting bt Stoyka Petrova (Bul) 4:1. 57 kg: Gabriele Wahner (Ger) bt India: 4:1. 60 kg: Sudaporn Seesondee (Tha) bt Kellie Harrington (Irl) 3:2. 64 kg: Dou Dan (Chn) bt Maria Bova (Ukr) 5:0. 69 Kg: Nien- Chin Chen (Tpe) bt Hong Gu (Chn) 3:2. 75 Kg: Qian Li (Chn) bt Nouchka Mireille Fontijn (Ned) 4:1

81Kg: Lina Wang (Chn) bt Jessica P. C. Sinisterra (Col) 5:0. +81 Kg: Xiaoli Yang (Chn) bt Sennur Demir (Tur) 5:0.

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