"Sorry, I couldn't win Gold or Silver but I gave my best," said MC Mary Kom after her 6-11 loss against Britain's Nicola Adams in the semi-final of the 51-kg category event. But she clearly doesn't need to be apologetic; she has made the country proud with her valiant effort.
Mary Kom, the diminutive Indian woman boxer who carried into the Olympic semi-finals the weight of an entire nation's expectations, will bring home a Bronze medal. She lost a closely fought bout against World number 2 Nicola Adams today. The score in each round, 1-3, 1-2, 2-3, 2-3. As former boxer Poonam Beniwal, a friend of Mary's said, "Mary fought and lost like a champion. She shouldn't be sorry." Â
British Adams held all the cards. A home advantage and a height and reach advantage against the 5 feet 2 inches tall Manipuri. Mary praised her opponent and said, "She was better in 1st and 2nd rounds".
Mary Kom is also new to the 51 kg category - she used to fight in the 48 kg category earlier. But the focused 29-year-old Indian mother of twins put up a gritty fight in every round.
Hours before her semi-final bout, Mary Kom had tweeted: "Ready for my match. Thanks all for your wishes. Hope to make my country proud. Jai Hind!" She did India proud with her effort.
In her last two bouts Olympic bouts before the semi-final, she had looked unbeatable, winning both convincingly to reach the semis. She beat Karolina Michalczuk, a much taller and bigger boxer from Poland, to enter the quarterfinals. And later she won her quarter-final bout against Maroua Rahali of Tunisia by 15-6 margin.
A mother of two, Mary Kom started her career as an athlete but later switched to boxing following the success of fellow Manipuri boxer Dingko Singh. She started her boxing career in 2000 after which there was no stopping her.
In 2001, she lost in the final and had to settle for a silver medal. In 2002, she started her domination at the AIBA World Championships where she won her first gold. She continued to dominate women's boxing till 2006 after which she took a 2-year sabbatical due to the birth of her twins. She returned with a bang in 2008 winning her 4th successive World Championship.
Her feat earned her the title of 'Magnificent Mary' from the AIBA. In 2010, she had the honour of bearing the Queen's Baton in the opening ceremony run at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in the stadium. She has also been awarded the prestigious Arjuna Award in 2004, Padma Shri Award in 2006 and the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna in 2009 for her achievements in Boxing.
In 2010, she was voted India's Sportswoman of the Year. Mary Kom also became the International Boxing Association's Ambassador for Women's Boxing in 2009.