Boxing great MC Mary Kom made a heart-breaking exit from Tokyo Olympics after losing to Ingrit Victoria Valencia of Colombia in the battle of former Olympic medallists on Thursday.
A win would have put the legend on the brink of winning another Olympic medal, a perfect swansong. But that was not to be.
It was one tight bout between two mothers. And the split decision (3:2) goes in the favour of Valencia, with the Colombian's 4-1 win in the first round surely making the difference.
Strangely, Mary Kom was wearing a plain blue vest that did not have India or her name on it.
She was asked to change her jersey right before the bout. The jersey said 'Mary Kom' but the organisers said only the first name is to be there. She was given a blank jersey.
The 38-year-old, mother of four, failed to get the better of 2016 Rio Olympics bronze medallist in their women’s flyweight (48-51kg), round of 16 bout.
Regarded as the greatest woman boxer, Mary Kom won a bronze medal in the 2012 London Games.
This 38-year-old icon’s second Olympic medal will put her heads and shoulders above all else in the Indian team. A six-time world champion, her achievements and medals have become a part of routine and the Manipuri wasn't showing any signs of slowing down.
The ring has been quite literally her playground for more than two decades now.
Among the sharpest movers in the ring Mary was fittingly one of the two flag-bearers of the Indian contingent.
Ingrit Valencia received a bye into the round of 16 at the Tokyo Olympics while Mary Kom defeated Miguelina Hernandez of the Dominican Republic 4-1 in the round of 32.
Both Mary Kom and Ingrit Valencia are the first female boxers from their respective countries to have won Olympic medals.
Mary Kom, unseeded at Tokyo 2020, is ranked No. 7 in the world in the 51kg category while third-seed Ingrit Valencia is ranked No. 11.
The last time the two met, Mary Kom beat Ingrit Valencia 5:0 in the quarter-finals of the 2019 world championships in Yekaterinburg, Russia.