India’s boxing star Mary Kom is seeking a wildcard entry to the Olympics after a loss last month during qualifying saw her dreams of competing in Rio shattered, an official said yesterday.
Kom, a former five-time world champion and a household name in India, was left devastated after losing a crucial bout at the Women’s World Boxing Championships in Kazakhstan.
Kom needed to reach the semifinals to book an Olympic spot but lost in the second round to Germany’s Azize Nimani, triggering reports the 33-year-old was mulling retirement.
India’s boxing committee has now lodged a request with the sport’s world association for a wildcard spot for Kom, the senior boxing official said on condition of anonymity.
“We have this responsibility of trying to see whether Mary with all her accomplishments over the last 15 years can represent India at the Olympics,” the official said.
“We first took her consent and once she said yes, we decided to go ahead with our efforts.”
But Kom, a 2012 Olympic bronze medallist in the 51 kilogram category, faces an uphill battle to secure a spot. Only one wildcard entry is on offer in Rio in August in each of the three women’s boxing categories, the official said.
Wildcard entries are announced at the end of all boxing qualifying events, which wrap up at the end of this month with men’s events in Azerbaijan.
Kom, a mother of three and one of the country’s most successful sports stars, has kept a low profile since losing the bout. Hailing from a poor family in the long-neglected and remote state of Manipur, her life inspired a Bollywood biopic in 2014 called Mary Kom.
The International Boxing Association suspended India’s federation in 2012 due to election malpractices, but has approved a provisional committee to run the sport in India.
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