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MARY assures India of a medal.

Storms into semis with a 15- 6thrashing of Tunisian

MC Mary Kom is turning out to be a cerebral fighter at the London Olympics. Up against the tall and strapping Maroua Rahali from Tunisia, the diminutive Indian used a solid strategy to outpunch her opponent 15- 6 and assured herself of a bronze medal.

The ExCel Arena was again packed with Indians By S. Kannan in London and had the commentators raving about Mary's achievements.

Wearing blue gear and with a spring in her feet, Mary realised that winning an Olympic medal is not about just punching hard but using the head as well.

" I am thrilled that I am assured of a medal. What makes it special is this is the first one in the 51kg category," said Mary, who has been in daily contact with professional coach Charles Atkinson in Liverpool.

She said the two have been discussing strategies regularly.

Up against the five- feet- sixinches tall Rahali, Mary took time to gauge her opponent.

There was no bravado about her approach and the fleet- footed Indian did well in the first round to understand what her opponent was going to throw at her.

Mary's slick footwork caught the eye again as she ensured she would not come into the ' punching zone' of her opponent.

The first two points for the Indian came when she did not exactly open out and hit her punches but fought in a measured manner.

Mary had a strong guard in a tight second round where neither boxer was willing to take chances. Rahali, predominantly a southpaw, may have hoped to score points with her better reach.

But full credit goes to Mary for being cautious.

It was a very different Mary that the fans saw in the third round.

Their vocal support grew louder and the Indian responded beautifully.

Realising that Rahali was not doing much damage, Mary waded into her opponent and scored vital points. She registered five points in this period and went to the corner at the break with a smile on her face.

Yet, Mary realised there was no room for complacency in the fourth round, in which her energy level was still high.

The Indian used a solid punching strategy to get the better of the Tunisian in the last game with four points.

Up next for Mary Kom is Britain's Nicola Adams. The crowd support will be there for the Briton but Mary is not bothered.

" I am aware I have to do my best and see if I can get silver.

Having moved to a higher weight category, it's tough as I can't put on weight," the Indian said.

" Competing in the Olympics and now being assured of a medal is a dream come true for me. I have been training with boys taller and heavier than me and it has helped a lot," the fivetime world champion added.

From the Indian point of view, this is the best haul at an Olympics with Mary assured of a medal.

This is also the first time at an Olympics that two Indian women have won medals. Shuttler Saina Nehwal was the first to do so when she won bronze on Saturday.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Aug 7, 2012
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