`Magnificent Mary` enters World C`ship finals

Bridgetown (Barbados): M C Mary Kom
continued her chase for a historic fifth successive World
Championship gold by becoming the only Indian boxer to enter
the finals of the event with a thumping win in the last-four
stage here.

Mary Kom (48kg) defeated Alice Kate Aparri of Philippines
8-1 in the semifinals to assure herself of at least a silver
in the sixth edition of the event.

The former Khel Ratna awardee will now face old rival
Steluta Duta of Romania who defeated Kazakhstan`s Nazgul
Boranbayeva 10-5.

However, there was disappointment as well for India when
Kavita (+81kg) settled for a bronze after losing 2-14 to
Ukraine`s Kateryna Kuzhel in the semifinals.

But Mary Kom, a mother-of-two from Manipur who is the
only boxer to have won a medal in each edition of the World
Championship, ensured that the Indian camp had something to
cheer about.

"I am very happy to have come so far. I will do my best
to win a gold even this time but I am not thinking too much
about it because I need to focus on my game. If I fight well,
I will win," the diminutive 27-year-old, who clinched a silver
in the inaugural edition and hasn`t settled for anything less
then a gold ever since, said.

In yesterday`s bout, Mary Kom was slow off the blocks and
was in fact down 0-1 in the first round.

"I did not attack much in the opening round. I was just
observing her. I needed to be patient before going for all-out
attack," she said.

Mary Kom had last faced Aparri way back in 2004 and had
come out triumphant and she made sure that her all-win record
against Filipino remained intact.

The Indian got her first point in the second round and
went on the offensive in the third, landing five scoring
blows. She added another couple of points in the final round,
while denying Aparri any chance with her swift foot movement.

"I wouldn`t say it was a very easy bout but it was not
too tough either. I covered up the points in the third round.
I am confident about myself and that helps," Mary Kom said.

Talking about Duta, whom she had beaten twice in the
finals of the World Championships (Delhi 2006 and Ningbo City,
China 2008), Mary Kom said she never takes her opponents

"I never take my opponents easy. On her day anybody can
be dangerous. I have beaten her twice before and that gives me
a good feeling but I can`t really say whether it would be easy
or tough," she said.

"All I can say is that I am confident and will do my best
to clinch a gold. I know it would be historic but I don`t want
to put myself under pressure by thinking about all this," she

Mary Kom`s tremendous run notwithstanding, it has been a
disappointing tournament for 2006 champions India. A record 72
countries are participating in the current edition and the
increased competition has affected India`s tally with just two
medals assured this time.

"The competition has increased but more importantly, how
other countries have caught up with us. Women`s boxing is now
an Olympic sport and we have to re-invent ourselves to remain
competitive," conceded Indian Boxing Federation Secretary
General Col P K Muralidharan Raja, who attended the event

"The coaching system has to be re-looked and the IBF will
work out all this once the Championships is over," he added.


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