Indian boxer and six-time world champion MC Mary Kom.
Indian boxer and six-time world champion MC Mary Kom.FILE Photo | PTI

Boxer Mary Kom steps down as Paris Olympics Chef-de-Mission, cites personal reasons

With just over 100 days left for the Olympics, India will have to look for a replacement soon

CHENNAI: In a dramatic turn of events, London Games bronze medallist MC Mary Kom has decided to step down as chef de mission of the Indian contingent for the upcoming Olympics. This development means the contingent have to find a new CDM with just over 100 days to go. The multiple Worlds gold medallist told The New Indian Express that it was a decision forced by some compelling personal issues.

Mary said that she was really thankful and grateful to the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) for considering her as the CDM but the enormity of the responsibility could be a bit too taxing for her at the moment. "I stepped down because of some personal reasons," she said. It is understood that she felt it would be difficult for her to leave the family.

"I am really honoured and grateful to the IOA president for considering me for the post of chef de mission and am thankful for that," she said. She also wrote to the IOA president: "I considered it an honour to serve my country in every way possible and I was mentally prepared for it.”

However, after careful consideration, she felt otherwise. CDM work entails liasoning between the organising committee, the athletes and IOA. They also need to address any controversy arising at the Games. The person also has to look after the welfare of athletes besides attending regular meetings and Delegation Registration Meetings.

"I regret to inform you that I will not be able to uphold the prestigious responsibility conferred on me as CDM for the Paris Olympics 2024, and would like to resign from the same, reasoning from my personal problems that have crippled me partly,” she had written in the letter to Usha.

The IOA chief, on her part, said the IOA will announce Mary's replacement soon. "We are sad that Olympic medal winning boxer and Chairperson of the IOA Athletes Commission Mary Kom has stepped down citing personal reasons. We respect her decision and her privacy," Usha said in a statement.

"I shall make the appropriate consultations and soon make an announcement about the replacement for Mary Kom. I completely understand her request and respect her decision. I have also conveyed to her that she will always have my own support and that of IOA. I also request everyone to respect the legendary boxer's privacy."

It is understood that Mary was not agreeable to the post initially, but after Usha and sports ministry officials had a discussion, she took it up reluctantly.

With the tussle for power between the Executive Committee and the IOA president in the backdrop, this definitely doesn't augur well. As of now, Shiva Keshavan, the deputy CDM, would be coordinating. And London Games medallist Gagan Narang, who is in charge of the shooting venue, too is involved. The shooting event is taking place some 270km away from Paris in Chateauroux. With EC divided, it needs to be seen who will be named the chef de mission.

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