New Delhi: MC Mary Kom's second-round defeat to Germany's Azize Nimani at the AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships at Astana on Saturday virtually ended the five-time world champion's bid to represent India at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
But thanks to myriad of Olympic qualification rules, the celebrated Manipuri flyweight boxer can still hope for a chance to compete in her second successive Games this August.
Boxers can qualify from four continental Qualifying events — 1 from Africa and 2 each from America, Asia/Oceania and Europe; besides the four spots available in the World Championships.
Mary Kom finished fourth at the Asia-Oceania qualifiers in March this year, and lost out in the World Championships yesterday.
But there is one spot still up for grabs. Under Tripartite Invitation, AIBA has reserved the right to assign a “wildcard” or award a “tripartite invitation” to a fighter who fails to qualify from these above mentioned events
In women’s boxing, “tripartite invitations” will be given to each of the three divisions — Flyweight (51 kg), Lightweight (60 kg) and Middleweight (75 kg).
For Mary Kom to be eligible for this 'invitation', world No. 1 Chinese boxer Ren Cancan and Taiwan's No. 3 boxer Lin Yu-Ting need to make at least to the semi-finals in Astana as boxers in the last four at World Championships get automatic Rio qualifications.
Cancan had already qualified for Rio by virtue of winning the Asian qualifiers, while Yu-Ting beat the Indian in the box-off for third place in Quianan, but missed out on Olympics qualification.
The second boxer from Asia/Oceania to earned Rio spot is Yodgoroy Mirzaeva of Uzbekistan. And she is not taking part in the Astana event.
If both Cancan and Yu-Ting enter semis at Astana, the gate is open for Mary Kom to have the invitation from AIBA.
According to AIBA, the invitation is made by the IOC tripartite commission composed of a representative from the IOC, the Association of National Olympic Committees and the pertinent international federation.