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Mary Kom a punch closer to London berth

other Updated: May 15, 2012 23:19 IST

Star Indian woman boxer MC Mary Kom (51kg) continued to make confident strides towards booking an Olympic berth by entering the World Championships’ quarterfinals but L Sarita Devi’s fate hung in balance after she lost a close last-16 bout in Qinhuangdao, China today.

Mary Kom defeated Norway’s Marielle Hansen 18-6 to make the last eight stage of the first and only qualifying event for women boxers, who will make their Olympic debut in London in three categories — 51kg, 60kg and 75kg.

Mary Kom’s division has two slots on offer for Asia from among a total of eight. Three Asians have made the quarterfinals — the other two being Asian Games champion Ren Cancan and North Korea’s Hye Kim. If either of the two go on to lose in the quarters tomorrow and Mary Kom wins her bout against World Number 2 Nicola Adams from England, the Indian would bag the Olympic slot.

“It was a good bout. It was not as draining as the first one and I tested everything that I have in terms of combination of punches,” Mary Kom told PTI from Qinhuangdao.

“My opponent today was taller than me and was very accurate with her punches. Her technique was neat and therefore I could use every trick in my book,” she added. About her rival in the next round, Mary Kom said, “I’m having a look at videos and planning my strategy.”

Sarita riding on luck

But in Sarita’s case, it would boil down to pure luck now after she lost 22-25 to England’s Natasha Jonas in 60kg category.

“If Jonas gets a gold then Sarita will get the second quota place for Asia as Tajikistan has made the quarterfinals to get the other spot,” Indian Boxing Federation secretary-general Brig PK Muralidharan Raja, said.

“It was a very disappointing result for us because Sarita lost track in the final round. She was tired and faced two eight-counts,” he added.