Indian boxing virtuoso MC Mary Kom has revealed that the upcoming Tokyo Olympic Games will mark her final appearance at the grand international quadrennial sports event, as she feels her age won’t let her return to action in the next Olympics.
The 2012 London bronze medallist, Mary Kom sealed her Olympics berth in the 51kg category in March last year at the Asian Olympic qualifying event in Amman, Jordan, before the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games was slapped with a whole year of postponement due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The postponing of the Olympics also increased the upper limit of age eligibility for boxers from 40 to 41. However, the next Olympics, going to be held in Paris, will have the standard eligibility at 40 years of age.
Mary Kom, who’s now 38, will not be eligible to be a part of the 2024 Olympic Games due to the age criteria and won’t be able to fly to France for the showpiece event even if she wills.
Becoming an Olympian changed my life: Mary Kom
Speaking to Olympic Channel, Mary made it clear that Tokyo will be the last Olympics of her career.
“Tokyo will be my last Olympics. Age matters here. I am 38 now, going on 39. Four (three) more years is a long time,” Mary said in the interview, “pretty sure, I won’t be allowed to even if I am willing to carry on till Paris 2024.”
The record six times world champion, London Games was Mary Kom’s first Olympic appearance, where she picked a bronze in the 51 kg category after losing the semi-final against former British boxer Nicola Adams, who went onto clinch gold.
Although she couldn’t make the cut to represent India in Rio four years later, Mary expressed her elation for taking part in the Olympic Games and claims it would hinder her decorated career as a pugilist if she didn’t become an Olympian.
“It means a lot for me to be an Olympian,” Magnificent Mary went on, “I have been boxing for 20 years. I have participated in many international tournaments. I have been the world champion.”
“But I had to wait my turn to take part in the Olympics as women’s boxing wasn’t in the Games until 2012. Finally, it happened, and I am glad it did. I think the value of my career as a boxer would have diminished if I didn’t compete in the Olympics,” added Mary.
Moreover, Mary also credits her 2012 bronze medal for being an inspiration to many Indian sportswomen, especially those who pursued 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,” Mary acknowledged.
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