Mary Kom inches closer to Olympic berth
New Delhi: Star Indian woman boxer M C Mary Kom (51kg) continued to make confident strides towards booking an Olympic berth by entering the World Championships` quarterfinals but L Sarita Devi`s fate hung in balance after she lost a close last-16 bout in Qinhuangdao, China on Tuesday.
Mary Kom defeated Norway`s Marielle Hansen 18-6 to make the last eight stage of the first and only qualifying event for women boxers, who will make their Olympic debut in London in three categories -- 51kg, 60kg and 75kg.
Mary Kom`s division has two slots on offer for Asia from among a total of eight. Three Asians have made the quarterfinals -- the other two being Asian Games champion Ren Cancan and North Korea`s Hye Kim.
If either of the two go on to lose in the quarters tomorrow and Mary Kom wins her bout against world number two Nicola Adams of England, the Indian would bag the Olympic slot.
"It was a good bout. It was not as draining as the first one and I tested everything that I have in terms of combination of punches," Mary Kom said.
"My opponent today was taller than me and was very accurate with her punches. Her technique was neat and therefore I could use every trick in my book," she added.
About her next rival in the next round, Mary Kom said, "I am having a look at her videos and planning my strategy.
"The Olympic berth is coming closer, so naturally I am feeling a bit edgy. I will just give my best and let god take care of everything else," she added.
But in Sarita`s case, it would boil down to pure luck now after she lost 22-25 to England`s Natasha Jonas in 60kg category.
"If Jonas gets a gold then Sarita will get the second quota place for Asia as Tajikistan has made the quarterfinals to get the other spot," Indian Boxing Federation Secretary General Brig P K Muralidharan Raja, who is in Qinhuangdao as a technical official, said.
"It was a very disappointing result for us because Sarita lost track in the final round. She was tired and faced two eight-counts," he added.
Meanwhile, in the non-Olympic categories Pinki Jangra entered the light flyweight (48kg) quarterfinals after beating Lidia Ion of Romania 26-16.
She will now be up against world number two Svetlana Gnevanova of Russia.