Mary Kom to lead Indian women`s challenge in Asian Games

New Delhi: Five-time world champion M C Mary
Kom beat jet lag and stiff competition from "best friend" L
Saritha Devi to make the cut for the three-member Indian
women`s boxing team announced for the Asian Games in
China this November.

The 27-year-old mother-of-two, who competed in the 48kg
division to clinch a historic fifth World Championship title
in Barbados last Saturday, was picked for the 51kg flyweight
division -- one of the three weight categories in women`s
boxing which has got the International Olympic Committee`s nod
for inclusion in the 2012 London Olympics as well.

The team was picked after a second round of trials this
morning as the initial trials conducted in Bhopal last month
had been deemed "inconclusive" by the Indian Boxing

Mary Kom fought against Meena Kumari and Saritha, a
former World Championships silver-medallist, today at the
Talkatora Indoor Stadium, just a day after landing in India
from Barbados.

"I am very happy to have made the team but I am hurt for
Sarita. She is a good boxer but both of us cannot be selected
for the same weight category. She is my best friend also but
what to do, we are in the same weight category now," Mary Kom
told reporters after the team`s announcement.

"But the good part is that my hard work and patience has
paid off and I am very happy about that," she added.

But the fatigue hardly showed when the Manipuri took the
ring as she dominated her two bouts to get the nod of the
selection panel, which has, among others, Manchester
Commonwealth Games gold-medallist Mohd Ali Qamar and Indian
Boxing Federation Secretary General Col PK Muralidharan Raja.

"She was outstanding in both her bouts. Despite the fact
that she was coming into the ring after such a long journey,
she fought so well in both her bouts that there was hardly any
doubt," said Col Raja.

Mary Kom has been dubbed `Magnificent Mary` by the
International Boxing Association for her unprecedented success
at the international, which many believe would remain
untouched for a long time to come.

The other two boxers picked for the November 12 to 27
Games are Preeti Beniwal (60kg) and Kavita Goyat (75kg).

Preeti is the sister-in-law of Commonwealth Games gold
medallist Akhil Kumar, who would be defending his bantam
weight 56kg category gold medal next month in Delhi.