Women's boxing legend MC Mary Kom spoke of her immense relief after she was handed an Olympic lifeline on Friday — without even throwing a punch.
The five-time world champion was reduced to a bundle of nerves at the Women's World Boxing Championships in China after she failed to gain an automatic Olympic spot after losing to Nicola Adams in the quarter-finals.
But the world No.2 flyweight Adams, from England, dismissed Russian Elena Savelyeva in the semi-finals 11-6, clearing the path to London for the celebrated Indian.
In Mary’s division, one slot had been taken by China's Asian Games gold-medallist Ren Cancan, who is in final now. The other slot was to be decided between the Indian and North Korea's Hye Kim. While Mary had lost to Adams, Kim had gone down to Savelyeva in the quarterfinals.
The winner of the Savelyeva-Adams bout was to decide the second slot for Asia and luckily for the Indian, the result went her way.
“It was emotional when I sat there watching as I had no medal after losing to Nicola. I was up and down," said ‘Magnificent Mary’, who watched Adams — who has also qualified for the 2012 Games — from the stands with the rest of the nervous Indian boxing squad.
“Nicola has helped me get a chance to go to the Olympics so I will try my very best. It's a dream to go to the Games as they are very special to me and India,” said the 29-year-old.
“I have fought in the World Championships many times but it's important to go to the Olympics — it's the highlight of my career,” said the diminutive mother of two, who has been forced to move up a division in a bid to contest the lightest Olympic category, 51 kilos.
“I am a bit sad as well because I won't have a medal around my neck this time,” added the reigning Asian champion.
“Medal is very important for me. I am happy with the qualification but I am very upset not to get a medal.”