Mary Kom assured of a medal, Gowda in discus final
Story Dated: Monday, August 6, 2012 21:57 hrs IST
India’s Mary Kom in action against Tunisia’s Maroua Rahali in the quarterfinal of Women’s Fly 51kg category boxing event.
London: M C Mary Kom punched her way into the women's boxing semifinals at the Olympic Games to ensure India of at least a bronze medal while Vikas Gowda joined a select group of the country's track and field athletes by entering the finals of men's discus throw here today.
"Magnificent Mary", the epithet given to the Manipuri mother of twin boys, fought her way past a hapless Tunisian opponent Maroua Rahali to score an emphatic 15-6 verdict in the quarterfinal to ensure a medal for the country in the inaugural edition of women's boxing.
In boxing, there is no fight-off for a bronze between the losing semifinalists and even if the 29-year-old Mary loses her next bout she will finish the Games with a bronze in her kitty.
Feisty Mary fought in a calculative manner as she used the first round to sort out her taller Tunisian opponent and then slowly upped the ante in the subsequent three rounds to chalk out a thumping verdict.
The five-time world champion also became the third Indian woman to attain medal standards at the Games, and the second here after shuttler Saina Nehwal. Weightlifter Karnam Malleswari had won a bronze in 2000 Sydney Games.
After a blank day yesterday, following two days of success medal-wise, India's tally will get boosted by Mary's medal.
Mary Kom will take on local favourite and second seed Nicola Adams of Great Britain in the semi-finals to be held on August 8. Adams prevailed over Stoyka Petrova of Bulgaria with a convincing 16-7 verdict in another quarter final bout.
"I am extremely happy, now I hope my dreams come true. For the past year I have been dreaming of an Olympic medal and now I am ready," Mary Kom said after her bout.
Mary Kom had been training with boxers who were heavier and taller than her to be able to cope with her rivals in the Olympics.
"I hope I will try for a silver, then after that let's see. For the last three or four years, I have been training with boys taller and heavier than me. It has helped a lot.
"Now I am not really tired, but yesterday was really hard. I am getting into the groove and hopefully will be able to deliver when it matters the most. I am eagerly looking forward to that," she said
Strongman Gowda qualified for the men's discus throw final round without much fuss, but Indian shooters, including 10m air rifle bronze winner Gagan Narang, were eliminated in the preliminaries.
US-based Gowda hurled the disc 20 cms beyond the automatic qualification standard of 65m in only his second throw to enter the finals to be held tomorrow.
The 29-year-old's throw was the fifth best, and the top throw in Group A, in the two-group qualifying rounds and, with a personal best of 66.28 under his belt, he has raised hopes of climbing the medal podium.
Gowda, who started with a modest effort of 63.52m before breaching the automatic qualifying mark, has joined a select list of seven Indian athletes to have made it to the finals in track and field events at the world's greatest sports extravaganza.
Iran's Ehsan Hadadi was just behind Gowda with a throw of 65.19m in his group and the finals are scheduled for 7:45pm local time (Wednesday morning 12.15am IST).
Gowda is also only the second Indian to make the finals in track and field at the ongoing Games after Krishna Poonia, who eventually finished seventh in women's discus throw.
The other four Indians to make it to the final rounds. since "Flying Sikh" Milkha Singh pioneered the way in the 1960 Rome Olympics in the men's 400m, were Gurbachan Singh Randhawa (110m hurdles, 1964), Sriram Singh (800m, Montreal), P T Usha (400m hurdles, 1984) and Anju Bobby George (Long Jump, 2004).