Asian Games 2014: I Would Not Have Refused a Medal Like Sarita Devi, MC Mary Kom Tells NDTV
MC Mary Kom won her first Asian Games gold medal in the 48-51kg division at Incheon. This was India's only boxing gold in the Games. Sarita Devi lost a chance to win a gold after she was beaten by a South Korean in a controversial bout.
The Asian Games 2014 gold medal has been the happiest moment of her boxing career, MC Mary Kom told NDTV in an exclusive interview on Saturday. The first Indian woman to win an Olympic medal at the London Games 2012, Mary Kom said it was tough to come back after she took a break in 2012 to have her third baby.
Mary Kom spoke on several subjects including the controversial Sarita Devi bout that made international headlines. Sarita Devi was denied an attempt at the lightweight gold after she lost her semifinal match against South Korean Ji Na Park. It was a bout that was dominated by the Indian boxer but two judges ruled in favour of the Korean. "She was definitely cheated. I felt sorry for her," Mary Kom said, adding: "Koreans cheated in other disciplines too."
The Indian camp protested against the decision but it was rejected by the technical jury. Sarita refused to accept her bronze medal and broke down during the medal ceremony, an episode that took everyone by surprise. Sarita later apologized and accepted her medal after the international boxing federation threatened to punish her.
Was Sarita right in refusing her medal? Mary Kom was guarded but hinted that medal ceremony incident could have been avoided and Sarita overdid the protest. "I would have accepted the medal," Mary Kom said, adding that refusing the medal was Sarita's way of protesting.
Mary Kom said it was her passion and defy odds that made her target the Asian Games gold. "There was a lot negativity. People thought Mary Kom will never win a medal again after I took the break to have a baby. I wanted to prove them wrong. Challenges fire me," Mary Kom said.
Mary Kom thanked her husband (Onler Kom) for being a great pillar of support. "when you have a loving husband and a good family, a women can do anything," she said.