Manipur: Mary Kom wins record sixth World Championships gold medal

Imphal

India’s Mary Kom on Saturday became the most successful female boxer in world championships history after clinching her sixth gold medal.

The 35 year-old beat Ukraine’s Hanna Okhota 5-0 in the final of the 48kg category contest in front of an electric home crowd in New Delhi. Her sixth gold takes her past Ireland’s Katie Taylor, and level with the men’s record held by Cuban legend Felix Savon as the most successful pugilist ever at the world championships.

Kom won a silver in the inaugural women’s edition in 2001 and then went on to win gold in each of the next five championships, with her most recent coming in Bridgetown, Barbados in 2010.

Kom, who was the subject of a Bollywood film in 2014, won bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Olympic bronze medallist Mary Kom came into the all-important bout, which coincided with her 36th birthday, optimistic of adding to her five world championships titles, and, without an iota of doubt, she walked the talk against Okhota in front of a packed KD Jhadav Stadium.

The feisty Manipuri now has an incredible six gold and one silver in the World Championships. The last time she won the top prize in the showpiece was in 2010, in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Before this World Championships, Mary Kom was tied with Ireland’s Katie Taylor (five gold and a bronze) on the number of medals won by a woman. Taylor now plies her trade in the professional circuit.

With this gold, ‘Magnificent Mary’ also matched Cuban men’s legend Felix Savon as the joint most successful pugilist (men and women) in the World Championships history. Savon, who also won three Olympic gold medals during his illustrious career, won six gold and one silver in heavyweight in the World Championships between 1986 and 1989.

Mary Kom won a silver in the inaugural edition in 2001 and then went on to win a gold each in the next five consecutive editions – 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010.

Overwhelmed, Mary Kom broke down after coming out of the ring as she went around to greet the packed stadium and the assembled officials. Wrapped in the Tricolour, she thanked her fans for their “unstinted” support.

“I am a little bit emotional. There is no (48 kg) weight category in the Olympic Games. Because of your love and support, I feel I will be able to qualify for 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Four years ago, I was not able to qualify for Rio. I am still suffering from that,” she said.

“Thank you for your love and support. I don’t have anything to give except for a gold in the country. I know it will be a bit difficult for me to win a gold in Tokyo as I will have to fight in 51 kg.”

Mary Kom, who claimed a bronze at the 2012 London Games, added, “…Because of their reach, the taller boxers (who will be in 51 kg) will have advantage. But I am still dreaming about winning the gold in 2020 Olympics.”

India ended the championships with 1 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze – from Lovlina Borgohain (69 kg) and Simranjit Kaur (64 kg). India’s best performance ever was the eight medals, including four gold, it won in 2006 in New Delhi.

Meanwhile, congratulatory messages poured in for Mary Kom. Among those who congratulated Mary Kom on her win, were President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minster Narendra Modi, Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. – Agencies

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