M.C. Mary Kom’s (51kg) bid for a second Olympic medal came to an end in the pre-quarterfinals of the Tokyo Games on Thursday, when she lost to bronze medalist Ingrit Valencia from 2016 edition in a hard-fought match. The amusing aspect is that Mary Kom had won two of the three rounds.
The perplexed legend said after the bout, “I don’t know what happened, I thought in the first round, we were both trying to figure out our strategies and I won the next two.”
In the first round, the Indian was behind 4-1, with four of the five judges scoring it 10-9 in favor of Valencia. Mary Kom got three of the five judges to rule in her favor in the next two rounds, but Valencia still won the total score.
The Manipuri won the third round as well, but this time by a score of 3-2 rather than 4-1, which would have swung the final score in her favor. The 38-year-old, a multiple Asian champion and 2012 London Olympic bronze medalist, lost 2-3 to the Colombian despite giving it her all in what would be her final Olympic match. When the referee raised Valencia’s hand at the finish of the battle, tired after the tough clash, Mary Kom had tears in her eyes and a broad smile on her face.
The way Valencia surged in as the first bell rang, it was clear that the match would be high-intensity, and that is exactly what it was. Valencia seemed anxious to avenge her previous two losses against the symbol, and the two started assaulting each other right away.
The Manipuri veteran rallied back to win the second and third rounds, perfectly landing her signature right hooks. She also gets credit for maintaining a high level of intensity throughout the exhausting struggle.
National assistant coach and Mary Kom’s personal trainer Chhote Lal Yadav told PTI, “I don’t understand this scoring system, how did she lose the first round 1-4 when there was hardly anything separating these two. It is a disappointment but that’s luck I guess”.
The Indian had previously defeated Valencia in the quarterfinals of the 2019 World Championship. Valencia, 32, is a trailblazer for her country, much like Mary Kom. She is Colombia’s first female boxer to compete in an Olympic Games and the country’s first female boxer to win an Olympic medal.