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`My aim is to win the Olympic gold'

Sports Reporter



MERRY RUN: M.C. Merykom, who slugged her way to the 46-kg world title, has set her sights on the Olympic gold. — Photo: V. Sudershan

NEW DELHI: "My aim is to win the Olympic gold,'' said M.C. Merykom at the felicitation function organised by the New Delhi YMCA here on Tuesday.

"Next year's Asian Games in Doha would be a testing time, but it is the Olympic medal that I am looking for,'' she added.

Merykom won the gold medal at the World championship in Moscow last week, beating Jong Ok of North KoreaFirst, the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) will have to finalise the four weight categories that it proposes to push into the Olympic programme. The AIBA will also have to stave off an influential lobby within itself that is opposed to reducing any weight category in the men's division. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has, however, agreed to induct women's boxing into the Olympic calendar, but has directed the AIBA to retain its boxing schedule.

The men's competition is spread over 11 weight categories and if the AIBA introduces women's boxing it will have to convince the men's lobby to sacrifice a few classes. Merykom feels that this will come off. "I am sure that the international federation will be able to put women's boxing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics,'' she said. The AIBA is meeting in Liverpool in a few days to discuss the issue.

"We work harder than our male counterparts,'' said Merykom. "The results show that women have achieved more than what the men have done in so many decades.''

Merykom's journey began at the inaugural World championship in 2001 in Pennsylvania when she won the silver in the 48-kg class. In the 2002 World Championship at Antalya (Turkey), Merykom, who has always been below 46 kg, claimed the gold in this section. Those who entered the competition had no experience, while others against whom she fought in 2001 struggled as they were shifted to higher categories.

While the Indian Amateur Boxing Federation (IABF) would definitely push for the 46-kg division to be included in the Olympics, the influential Europeans will be backing the higher weight categories. The catch lies here, as it will be tough for Merykom to increase her body weight in order to compete at least in the lowest weight class that finds its way into the Olympics.

For now, the IABF just wants to cash in on Merycom's success.

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