Mary Kom continues to shine at World Championships, in semis

Bridgetown: MC Mary Kom (48kg)
remained firmly on course for a historic fifth successive gold
by advancing to the semifinals along with Kavita (+81kg) to
assure India of two medals in the sixth Women`s World
Championships here.

Mary Kom beat Lynsey Holdaway from Wales 9-2 in the
quarter-final to set up a clash with Alice Appari of the
Philippines, whom she had beaten in their only face off six
years ago.

The mother-of-two from Manipur took a narrow 2-1 lead in
the opening round and built on it in the next two rounds to be
6-2 ahead by the third round. In the final round, Mary Kom
launched an all-out attack to seal the issue in her favour.

"It was not all that tough for me. I had never faced her
before but didn`t have to slog too much. So far so good," the
27-year-old told reporters after the bout.

"Despite the increased competition, I think I can still
dominate my category. I am not bragging but it hasn`t been
very tough for me despite the fact that I have already played
three rounds. My body is also feeling great," she said.

Talking about her next-round opponent, Mary Kom, who was
conferred the Khel Ratna award last year, said, "I know this
girl. I beat her in 2004 and hopefully even this time I would
win. I will try my best. I have my fingers crossed for a fifth
consecutive gold."

Dubbed `Magnificent Mary` by the International Boxing
Association, the Indian has the unique feat of having won a
medal in each of the previous World Championships. She was
silver-medallist in the inaugural edition and has not settled
for anything less then a gold after that.

Among other Indians, Kavita too advanced to the
semifinals by beating Adriana Hosu of Romania 9-6. She will
face Kateryna Kuzhel of the Ukraine in the last-four stage

But there was disappointment as well, with Laxmi Padiya
(81kg) losing 4-18 to Kazakh Marina Volnova last night.

The current edition of the World Championship features 72
countries. The increased competition has hit 2006 overall
champions India rather hard with just two medals assured this