Mary Kom Seeks Asian Games Gold, But Will She Box for India?

Mary Kom qualified for the Asian Games in Incheon on Thursday. But the London Olympic bronze medallist may not represent India due to administrative issues in the Indian boxing federation.

Updated: August 28, 2014 12:20 IST
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File photo: MC Mary Kom celebrates victory during London Olympics.

New Delhi: Five-time world women's boxing champion Mary Kom will return to the ring at the Asian Games next month, but her competing under the Indian flag remains in doubt, a top official said on Thursday.

Kom, 31, qualified for her first international competition since winning an Olympic bronze medal at the London Games in 2012 after clinching the trials in the 51kg category in Patiala on Wednesday.

"It is good to be back and prove those people wrong who thought my career was over," said Kom, who had been busy promoting an upcoming Bollywood movie on her life starring popular actress Priyanka Chopra.

"I think I can win a medal, hopefully a gold medal."

Kom won a bronze medal at the last Asian Games in Guangzhou in 2010.

But with India's boxing association not recognised by the sport's world body since December 2012 due to election malpractices, it was uncertain if the 13-strong Indian squad will be allowed to compete under the national flag.

Fresh elections to a provisional body, Boxing India, are scheduled to be held on September 11, just eight days before the Asian Games open in the South Korean city of Incheon on September 19.

But it remain unclear if the elections, already put off once, will be held on time as a dispute continues over administrative matters between the Indian Olympic Association and the International Boxing Association (AIBA).

"If the elections are not held on September 11, our boxers may not be allowed to compete under the Indian flag," said Jiji Thomson, who heads the Sports Authority of India.

Thomson said the boxers were allowed to take part in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July only on the condition that elections would be held in the near future.

Even without an elected body, Indian boxers could still go to Incheon as independent athletes if the Olympic Council of Asia accepts their entries.

The row echoes this year's Winter Olympics in Sochi when India embarrassingly marched at the opening ceremony without their national flag.

The International Olympic Committee lifted its ban on the Indian Olympic Association after it held fresh elections. The Indian flag was used at the closing ceremony.

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