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Five-time AIBA World champion Mary Kom 'snubbed' by AIBA for Rio slot
by Michael O'Neill
June 24, 2016

(JUNE 24)  Indian media sources are yesterday reporting that the 5 times AIBA World champion – and AIBA’s own Ambassador- Mary Kom has been ‘denied’ a ‘wildcard’ place in Rio 2016.

As yet, despite widespread media speculation, throughout the world, no official comment from the AIBA.

The good news is that despite this snub from the International Boxing Association, ‘Magnificent Mary’ says she has no plans to retire and hopes to coach future Indian stars.

The ‘Times of India’ (PTI) quotes Mary Kom : “ This is something which I had no control on. I have to accept this decision but I am not quitting the sport right now. I will continue to compete till I am feeling fit and for the time being I think I am fit," Mary Kom told PTI from Imphal.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and Interim Indian ‘ad-hoc (boxing) committee’ approached the International Boxing Association (AIBA) for a Tripartite Commission Invitation Place, which happened to be just one in her category, according to PTI. One must pose the question how late in the day did that sub-committee make the request? How long did it take the AIBA to ‘formally’ respond?

"The ad-hoc committee has had a word with AIBA President Dr Ching Kuo Wu. It was always going to be tough to get a wildcard," she said.

The Manipuri had planned to retire after Rio but has now changed her mind.

"I am aware that retirement is something that would be talked about a lot but for the time being I have dropped the idea. Of course I would be spending more time at my academy training young kids but I will continue to devote as much time to my training as well," Mary Kom said.

Mary Kom was of course dubbed 'Magnificent Mary' by the AIBA itself, after she claimed that historic fifth world title and indeed was one of the eight ambassadors at the recent AIBA World Championships. So is she just ‘Magnificent Mary’ when it suits the world body?

The fact that Indian boxing is – and has been in turmoil – for some considerable time now has without doubt played a major part in this decision and undoubtedly brings both the Indian authorities AND the AIBA into disrepute.

How can any organisation treat such a long time servant of the AIBA in such a cavalier fashion? Indeed how can such a dispute last so long? Is the AIBA not capable of agreeing with the Indian Sports Authority and Indian Olympic Committee on a new body that is acceptable to all parties? If not why not?

"The IOC has ruled that the (wildcard) will be given only to countries which have had less than eight participants in last two Olympics, and India had eight boxers in London," Kishen Narsi, chairman of India's ad hoc boxing committee, told AFP.

"They had taken the call in the previous meeting that they will stick to the rule of any country with less than eight participants in any sport. So it's a call that they have taken and we have to fall in line," said Narsi.

"There are no competitions apart from Olympics this year. So I have a lot of time at hand to think and reflect. I will see how things go. It will all depend on my fitness, I feel fit right now. If I continue to feel the same way, I would continue for some time," Mary Kom concluded.

"I am not feeling good about how things have panned out but I am sure future is good for me," she added.

The AIBA in its determination to force through Professional boxing (mean only initially) seem to have lost touch with its rank and file members in ALL continents. They need to remember that it is the boxers who are putting their bodies on the line to serve ‘Masters’ who seem more intent on making a few boxers richer and ignoring completely the wishes of the vast majority, most of whom have not even been consulted by their own National Federations.

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