London: India are assured of a fourth medal here at the 2012 London Olympics after MC Mary Kom out-boxed Maroua Rahali in the women’s flyweight 48-51kg category quarter-finals at a packed ExCel Arena on Monday afternoon.
Mary Kom will next face second-seed and home crowd favourite Nicola Adams in the semi-finals on Wednesday. In the other last-four clash, top-seeded Cancan Ren of China meets American Marien Esparza.
“My first step was to win the first round and now I have achieved my second goal and that was to enter the semi-finals and be assured of at least a bronze medal,” Mary Kom told media, mostly from India, after her 15-6 win over the Tunisian.
So far, India have just three medals in London — a silver for shooter Vijay Kumar and a bronze each for badminton sensation Saina Nehwal and shooter Gagan Narang. In boxing, bronze medals are awarded to each of the two losing semi-finalists.
“It has been a tough comeback for me honestly. One of the most difficult things for me is to maintain my weight at 51kg. It is far easier for a person of my nature to suddenly raise my weight from 48kg to 51kg so that I could be a part of the women’s boxing in the Olympics,” added the mother of twins from Manipur.
Mary Kom used all her experiences to tire out her Tunisian opponent while at the same time managing to strike a couple of punches to lead 2-1 at the end of the opening round.
In the second, Mary Kom went on the offensive and Rahali was taken aback. That was enough to do the damage as she opened a narrow two-point lead at 5-3 by the end of the two minutes.
One minute into the penultimate round, Kom landed a barrage of punches, throwing her opponent on the ropes to open up a solid 11-4 victory margin.
“I had my strategy worked out with my coach. I knew her style and all I had to do was follow his instructions today,” Kom said.
British boxer Adams, her next opponent, secured an easy 16-7 win over Bulgaria’s Stoyka Petrova in the fourth quarter-final.
The two have fought as recently as May this year at the World Championships, with Adams winning 15-13. In fact, ‘Magnificent Mary’ owes her trip to London to Adams after she qualified as one of the two boxers from Asia due to the British woman beating Elena Savelyeva in the world semi-finals.
“I don’t like to think about all these things,” Kom said. “A part of my goal has been accomplished and, if it is the will of God that I get a better medal, then I am ready for it,” said the 29-year-old.
“On my part I am ready to do everything and go all out for victory.”