Image: Republic World
India's veteran boxer MC Mary Kom's dream of her second Olympic medal was shattered after she was eliminated from the Tokyo Olympics due to a loss in her women’s 51kg round of 16 match. Mary Kom on Thursday went head to head against Colombia's Ingrit Valencia, however, the Indian boxer lost by a score of 3-2. The last time the duo met the Indian boxer beat the Colombian boxer by a unanimous decision in the quarter-final bout of the 2019 World Championships. However, MC Mary Kom in an exclusive interview with Republic Media Network has accused the judges of 'cheating' and coming up with an 'unfair decision' that favoured her opponent. This comes after it emerged she thought she'd actually won the fight and only later realised that she hadn't.
Explaining what confusion occurred after the end of the final bout, Mary Kom said, "Well after the end of the first round my coach told me that you have lost 4-1. Then I was surprised as I did not get any punches on my face, in my body, then how come can she get 4 and I get 1? In the second round again we were winning by 3-2, again we won the third round by 3-2. See, what I mean to say is the first round did not come in favour of me, it went to her (Ingrit Valencia)."
"Two rounds are mine only and I thought I was winning. I am telling you many people would have watched my match, I didn't even react that I lost. I reacted as I won. I thought I must be winning the match. So I don't know what's happening, exactly, I do not understand as two rounds were already mine and then the final decision went in her favour. It's cheating I think. If I explain also I don't know whosoever have seen the match what they will think or feel. But in my opinion, I was winning. I feel so bad, it's very heartbreaking. All my effort, all my struggle, all my hard work for the last 3-4 years - it's gone in seconds," added Mary Kom.
Mary Kom also said that this is not the first time such a thing has happened to her. The veteran boxer revealed that a similar thing took place during an Olympics event and World Championships as well.
Mary Kom trailed 4-1 in the opening round with four of the five judges scoring it 10-9 in favour of Valencia. In the next two rounds, Kom got three of the five judges to rule in her favour but the overall score-line was still in favour of Valencia.
The boxer from Manipur needed a 4-1 verdict in the final round to swing the bout for her. The IOC's Boxing Task Force had promised a more transparent judging system after amateur boxing's credibility took a hit during the 2016 Rio Olympics judging fiasco which led to the suspension of 36 officials. Mary Kom is part of the BTF's 10-member athletes ambassadors group.
"Many girls know about my struggle, my hard work, and how difficult it was. In this situation like the Olympics, it is the biggest event in the world and every dream to achieve in the Olympics. I wanted to come back with a medal at least. But I am not able to because the fight was not fair and even they cheated on me. I don't know how will I come back to India and what I will feel. When I will see the people of our country then what I will react to them, I don't know and understand," Mary Kom said.
Apologising to the people of India who had faith in her, Mary Kom said, "I am sorry I couldn't come back with a medal that is a very sad part. And I am happy that everyone is praying for me and everyone is wishing all the time on social networking sites. Their love and support are always in my heart and I will try my best to fulfill your dreams."
"I am happy and glad for your all love and support. Let's keep praying for not only me but also for those who are going to perform in the upcoming days. We want to feel that proud feeling of being an Indian again," added the six-time world champion.
Sharing her learnings and experience of the Tokyo Olympics, Mary Kom said, "This Olympics is worse I should say. I can explain my past experience of London 2012. Yes I understand due to the pandemic it could not have been properly organised but even the other facilities were not good. Even the boxing arena was not good at all. Here so many things are going on. Everyday testing is going on, it is hefty for everyone. There are so many rules we have to strictly follow otherwise action will be taken any time. I will remember this fight my entire life."
"Until or unless they will not call me back it will continue to come in my mind. This is the worst decision I have faced," Mary Kom further stated.
"I have beaten this girl twice and I don't know what they have done in this Olympics. I was winning in two rounds and the decision came very close. 2 rounds I have won and 1 round which was very close is won by her, and they declare her the winner. I felt they will do free and fair judgment. I am a member of the task force also and I have attended many meetings, and whenever they ask for my advice, I always keep this one point- free and fair judgment but they don't do that,"said Mary Kom
"If they are doing this with me, then what am I supposed to feel, supposed to do? it's not working. in sports also there is so much of politics. There are many things going on but okay past is past. I will think in the future, I have to fight again in 1-2 years. till 40 years, I can fight. I will fight again to achieve for the country," added Mary Kom.
"Asian Games is not very far, I will prepare for that. My hunger is not finished yet. Every athlete should have that hunger so that in our life we will achieve something, and everyone wants that," Mary Kom further stated.
The next Asian Games is likely to take place in Hangzhou, China in 2022.