Mary Beats Jangra, Gets a Rio Lifeline
Mary Kom has extended her dominance over archrival Pinki Jangra. The London Olympics bronze medallist edged past the Haryana pugilist yet again, this time in the selection trials for the World Championships in Astana, Kazakhstan, next month. The Worlds, to be held from May 19 to 27, will be the final qualifier for the Rio Olympics.
The bout was a close affair but the technical judges decided unanimously in favour of five-time world champion Mary Kom. The victory has provided her with another chance to secure an Olympics berth after she failed to make the cut in the Asian Qualifiers in China last month. Mary Kom had gone to China only after defeating Jangra, the 2014 Glasgow CWG bronze medallist, in the trials held at NIS, Patiala.
Unlike in their previous encounters, the latest showdown between the two boxers here on Tuesday did not generate much interest and hype. According to one of the senior coaches present at the venue, the bout, which had four rounds of two minutes each, witnessed some angry moments when both the boxers contested a few points. But the Manipuri pugilist’s experience and “technically correct” punches helped her win the fight.
For Jangra, Mary Kom’s toughest competitor in the 51kg category, this was her second defeat in as many months. Mary Kom, however, can’t afford to celebrate yet; she has a much bigger challenge and much stronger opponents awaiting her at the Worlds. And they will throw in all they have to make the most of this final opportunity.
Mary Kom has to make at least the semifinals at the Worlds to qualify for Rio. At the Asian Qualifiers, she lost in the semis to Ren Cancan of China and failed to qualify as only the top two boxers in each category were given the quota place in that tournament.