London Olympics bronze medallist MC Mary Kom passed her qualifying test for the Incheon Asian Games after beating Pinky Jangra in the final of trials at National Institute of Sports in Patiala on Wednesday.
Mary Kom failed to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow after losing to Jangra in the trials. But that did not seem to affect her much as she took her 'revenge' defeating CWG bronze medallist in the 51kg category bout on Wednesday.
Glasgow silver-medallist L Sarita Devi also booked her place in the 60kg category.
Though Mary Kom must have heaved a sigh of relief after qualifying for what could be her last competitive big event, it was not before she forced the Indian Olympic Association's (IOA) ad-hoc committee, which governs boxing in India, and Sports Authority of India (SAI) to appoint a government observer — belonging to North East — to ensure fair trials for the Asiad.
dna has learnt that the Dronacharya Awardee and Mary Kom's former coach L Ibomcha Singh was sent as a government observer on Tuesday — the first day of the trials — by SAI after the champion boxer wrote a letter complaining about partiality during the Commonwealth Games trials.
SAI also sent Jas Lal Pradhan as an observer for the trials to ensure transparency during the trials. Mary Kom wrote in her letter to the SAI and IOA ad hoc committee that "she felt cheated along with other North-Eastern boxers during the course of CWG trials and that this time it should not be repeated".
Though, IOA ad-hoc committee refuted these allegations, SAI took note of it. There were 28 officials sent to the NIS campus for the trials. This included observers from the government, IOA and SAI.
Akhil back in limelight
Meanwhile, 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Akhil Kumar made a stunning comeback to the centre stage by qualifying for the Asiad. In the 60kg category final trial match, Akhil got better of Rohit Tokas on Wednesday.
The 33-year-old defeated national champion Vikas Malik on Tuesday and will be playing his first international tournament after CWG in 2010.
Akhil, who was written off after a string of injuries, looked impressive in his comeback bid. "I am back and I promise temperature inside the ring will go up when I step in," said Akhil after the bout.
Akhil won gold during the 2006 Commonwealth Games, a bronze in World Championship and when he reached quarterfinal in the 2008 Olympics, he became a household name but soon suffered string of injuries.
Akhil credited his wife Poonam Beniwal for this new lease of life inside the ring. "She has been the backbone of my efforts and I know this is as much her achievement as it is mine. There were moments of self-doubt but today I have fought through all of them," he said.
Boxing teams for Asian Games:
Men: L. Devendro Singh (49kg), Madan Lal (52kg), Shiva Thapa (56kg), Akhil Kumar (60kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg), Mandeep Jangra (69kg), Vikas Krishnan (75kg), Kuldeep Singh (81kg), Amritpreet Singh (91kg), Satish Kumar (91kg).
Women: MC Mary Kom (51kg), L. Sarita Devi (60kg), Pooja Rani (75kg).