Tokyo my Olympics farewell: Mary Kom

New Delhi, March 10

Indian boxing great Mary Kom has said the Tokyo Olympic Games will be her final Olympics.

Six-time world champion Kom, 38, has been boxing for 20 years but it was only at the London Olympics in 2012 that women were allowed to compete for the first time. That was her first shot at an Olympics medal after she had secured several world crowns, and she came back with a bronze medal from London after losing in the semifinals.

“Tokyo will be my last Olympics, age matters here. I’m 38 now, going on 39,” Kom told the Olympic Channel. “Four (actually three) more years is a long time. Pretty sure I won’t be allowed to even if I’m willing to carry on till Paris 2024.”

The age limit for boxers is set at 40 but was extended to 41 for the Tokyo Games, which were pushed back by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. She said she is happy with the fact that her bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics inspired young girls in the country to take up the sport.

Kom, who failed to qualify for the Rio Games in 2016, won the right to try to qualify for Tokyo 2020 after beating a younger challenger in a trial in 2019.

“Olympics is huge. For any sportsperson, participating and winning a medal at the Games is a dream, it changes lives,” she added. “Becoming an Olympian and winning the bronze changed my life too. It also inspired many women to take up sport, especially boxing. I feel proud. I want more girls to come out and fight. I hope there are no restrictions on them to come out and fight for themselves and their country.” — TNS

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