Guwahati: The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be a tough challenge for country’s boxing icon Mary Kom as the London Olympic bronze medalist will compete in the 51 kg category instead of her favourite 48 kg.
With the Olympic qualification around the corner, the Manipur pugilist is working hard these days to repeat her performance in the 51 kg category like she did in the 48 kg, especially in Tokyo 2020.
Since her failure to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics in the 51 kg category, Mary Kom has not competed in that category, instead focusing on the world championship. She even skipped the Asian Games in August last year to prepare for the worlds as the continental event did not have the 48 kg category.
Now, the million dollar question is whether a year would be enough for Mary Kom to make the shift from 48 kg to 51 kg and win the gold in Tokyo next year.
The popular argument would be that Mary Kom had managed to win a medal in 2012 London Olympics, two years after winning the world championship in 48 kg category, and there is no reason why she cannot do it again or even go a step further.
No one can doubt Mary Kom’s ability to punch above her weight or her dedication which has seen the 35-year-old return twice after child birth to win major titles.
Now, Mary Kom is making her competitive debut in the 51 kg category during the second edition of the India Open boxing tournament to be held at the Karmabir Nabin Chandra Bordoloi Indoor Stadium in Guwahati, Assam from May 20-24. This tournament will give a major boost to Mary Kom after opting out of the Asian Championships last month in order to prepare for the World Championships as the event will serve as a good preparatory ground for Olympic qualification.
“The India Open is a great opportunity for the Indian boxers. In the run-up to their preparations for the World Championships, they will be facing some of the top boxers including Asian Games and World champions,” said Ajay Singh, president, Boxing Federation of India (BFI).
Also Read: Sarjubala Devi: The next Mary Kom of India
“BFI vision is to take boxing to every corner of the country. Staging the second edition of the India Open in Assam will be a step in that direction and a chance to bring world class boxers to the North-East region which has already contributed many Indian boxing success stories for India and will inspire the next generation to take up the sport in a much bigger way,” he added.
Keeping in mind the approved weight categories for Olympic qualification, some of the Indian pugilists have changed their weight categories. After her stunning performance at the Asian Championships, where she became the first Indian to win gold in 81kg, Pooja Rani has gone back to her original weight category of 75kg.