M C Mary Kom blazed her way into the history books cruising into the semi-finals of the women's flyweight event at the London Olympics on Monday.
Mary is assured of at least a bronze medal after beating Maroua Rahali from Tunisia in the quarterfinals of the women's flyweight (51kg) category. The Indian was in total control of the match and won it 15-6.
The Indian, changed her strategy on Monday as she initially sized up her opponent before going for the kill.
There wasn't too much to distinguish between the two boxers in the first two rounds. The first ended 2-1 in the Indian's favour and the second 3-2. But the dimunitive Idian changed tactics in the third round and displaying her quick feet and fast hands handed out a flurry of combination punches. Mary Kom won the round 6-1.
The semi-final berth sealed, Mary Kom slowed down, but still won 4-2.
In the semis, the 29-year-old Indian faces Great Britain's Nicola Adams, who is seeded second in the tournament, who prevailed over Stoyka Petrova of Bulgaria with a convincing 16-7 win, in the semi-finals to be held on August 8.
Interstingly, Nicola has beaten Mary Kom in the quarter-finals at the 2012 World Championship.
For the first time in India's history, two female athletes have won medals in the same Olympics. Saina Nehwal gave India its maiden badminton Olympic medal, a bronze, Saturday. The fourth medal that she would eventually win at the end of her campaign would provide the country with its best-ever medal haul in the Games history, the previous high being the three won at Beijing four years ago.
After the bout, 'Magnificent Mary', as she is known in the boxing fraternity, said, "I am extremely happy. Now I hope my dreams will come true. For the past year I have been dreaming of an Olympic medal and now I am ready."
The Manipur-born boxer said she had been training with boys who were heavier and taller than her to be able to cope with her rivals during the Olympics. "I will try for a silver. 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 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."
On competing in the 51kg category, she said, "I have only been fighting in this weight category for two years. It is so, so hard. It is so hard to gain the weight. I am still adjusting."
Earlier, on Sunday the five-time world champion overcame a three-inch height disadvantage to see off Poland's Karolina Michalczuk. Having to step up from her usual light flyweight division, she was in tears after her hard-fought 19-14 win.
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