London: M.C. Mary Kom was India’s lone medal-winning boxer at the Olympics after Laishram Devendro Singh went down fighting in his quarterfinal bout Wednesday night.
Mary Kom scripted history by becoming the country’s first woman boxer to win an Olympic medal when she finished with a bronze after losing the semifinal match to Britain’s Nicola Adams 6-11 in the 51 kg category.
However, her teammate from Manipur, Devendro narrowly missed out on a medal, putting up a brave fight against Irishman Paddy Barnes in the quarterfinals of the men’s 49 kg category.
His 18-23 loss to the Beijing Games bronze medallist ended India’s boxing campaign in the mega event.
Mary Kom, who had been assured of a bronze medal Monday when she reached the semifinals became only the second Indian boxer after Vijender Singh to win an Olympic medal. Vijender had won a bronze in Beijing fours years ago.
From the start, Mary Kom struggled to cope up with the Briton’s speed.
She came under pressure in the first round, having to fend off Nicola’s powerful punches.
Second-seed Nicola, buoyed by the presence of British Prime Minister David Cameron and professional boxer Amir Khan, put up a flawless performance.
A couple of times, 29-year-old Mary Kom, a mother of twins, was pinned in the corner and took some major blows, losing the first round 1-3.
The second round was closer as both boxers tried to assert their dominance.
However, the five-time world champion found it difficult to get her way around the quick opponent, who narrowly edged the round 2-1.
Mary Kom stuck it out in the third round before losing it by a whisker.
The final round ended similarly as Mary Kom found it hard to cope with Nicola’s size.
With time running out, the Indian went hell for leather but fell short and lost the round 2-3.
The Indian shared the bronze with US’s Marlen Esparza.
Women’s boxing is making its Olympic debut in London. Both semi-finals losers were awarded bronze medals.
A happy Mary Kom said she was satisfied with her effort.
“It has been a tough journey. I carried on with the support of family and friends. I want to continue playing the game. Despite the loss today, I’m satisfied with the way I performed,” she said.
Apart from Mary Kom’s feat, there was another piece of good news for India from the showpiece track and field.
Middle-distance runner Tintu Luka qualified for the semifinal of the women’s 800 metres.
Tintu, who is coached by the legendary P.T. Usha, finished third in the second heat with a timing of 2:01.75 seconds. It was below her personal best of 1:59.17 seconds achieved two years ago.