In a stunning reversal, Olympic bronze medallist and five-time world champion MC Mary Kom defeated Pinki Jhangra, a Commonwealth Games bronze medallist, to make the 13-member Indian boxing contingent for the Asian Games slated for September 19-October 4 in the South Korean city of Incheon.
It was Pinki, who had beaten Mary Kom to make the Commonwealth Games squad but this time Mary Kom proved her class during the trials conducted by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) ad-hoc committee at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) Patiala on Wednesday.
Besides Mary Kom (51kg), L Sarita Devi (60kg), Pooja Rani (75kg) also made the cut.
The men's team comprises L Devendro Singh (49kg), Gaurav Bhiduri (52kg), Shiva Thapa (56kg), Akhil Kumar (60kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg), Mandeep Jangra (69kg), Vikas Krishan (75kg), Kuldeep Singh (81kg), Amritpreet Singh (91kg), Satish Kumar (+91kg).
For former Commonwealth Games gold medallist Akhil, it was a comeback after three years as he made it to the 10-member men's squad. A string of injuries forced Akhil out of boxing in the last three years.
Mary Kom was delighted and said she would give her best shot for a medal.
"I am very happy that my hard work has paid off today (Wednesday). I promise that I would make the most of this opportunity and bring the medal for my country," said Mary Kom.
The 31-year-old Manipuri credits her success to her new coach Angom Lenin Meitei, under whom she started training just a month ago.
"I want to give credit to Lenin who has given me some hard training in the last one month. He has helped me a lot in gaining weight as I lost some three kgs recently. He has also been very motivating from day one," she said.
"The win was the only thing in my mind before travelling to Patiala and I kept on changing my techniques according to my opponents," said Mary Kom, who won bronze at the 2010 Asian Games.