GOLD COAST, Australia — Mary Kom is back on the international stage in boxing.
The mother of three and now politician in India made a successful return to the ring at a major multi-sports event on Saturday. She beat Kristina O’Hara of Northern Ireland in a 5-0 unanimous decision in the gold medal match in the 45-48 kilogram division at the Commonwealth Games.
Kom, 35, is a former five-time world amateur champion who won a bronze medal in the 51-kilogram division at the London Olympics in 2012, but failed to qualify for the Rio de Janeiro Games in 2016.
She competed in the Asian championships last November in the first stage of a comeback and won gold.
“Even my sports minister came to cheer me on, my country will be very proud,” said Kom, who is a member of Upper House in India’s Parliament.
She said she may give the Olympics another attempt — “if I am fit enough, I will go for Tokyo 2020.”
“My dreams are not fulfilled yet because (no) Olympic gold medal,” she said. “So if my body allows, I will go.”
O’Hara said she was “quite proud” of her performance.
“But at the end of the day she (Kom) is a well-known boxer, a credit to her country, so the greatest of respect to her,” O’Hara said.
Elsewhere around the games Saturday:
ON THE TRACK
Three winners picked up the first gold medals for their countries in the meet — former world junior champion Neeraj Chopra of India won the javelin in 86.47 metres, Levern Spencer of St. Lucia’s the women’s high jump in a season-best 1.95 metres and Troy Doris of Guyana the triple jump in 16.88 metres.
Two other finals had predictable Kenya 1-2 finishes: world champion Hellen Obiri won the women’s 5,000 metres in 15 minutes, 13.11 seconds, holding off teammate Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi, and Elijah Motonei Manangoi won the 1,500 in 3:34.78 ahead of Timothy Cheruiyot.
England won both the men’s and women’s 4×100-meter relays on the final day of track, while Botswana took the men’s 4×400 and Jamaica the women’s 4×400. It was a rare meet for the Jamaicans, who didn’t pick up any gold in the 100, 200 or 4×100 relays — Yohan Blake’s men’s team was third in the one-lap relay and Elaine Thompson’s women’s team was second.
LIZ CAMBAGE EJECTED
Australia won the gold medal in women’s basketball, beating England 99-55. Not that star Australia centre Liz Cambage was around to see the finish.
Cambage, who will begin playing for Dallas in the WNBA in May, picked up an unsportsmanlike foul early in the game and was sent from the court three minutes into the second quarter after picking up a technical foul for arguing with the referee.
Two of either an unsportsmanlike or technical foul lead to an automatic ejection for the game.
New Zealand beat Canada 74-58 for the bronze.
Earlier in a men’s basketball semifinal, Canada beat New Zealand 88-86 on Mamadou Gueye’s last-second three-pointer. New Zealand outscored Canada 28-13 in the fourth quarter and nearly overcame a 21-point deficit.
In Sunday’s gold medal final, Canada will play Australia, which earlier beat Scotland 103-46.
Australia’s retiring captain Mark Knowles bowed out a winner after the Kookaburras won their sixth straight Commonwealth Game title by beating New Zealand 2-0 to win the men’s title at the Commonwealth Games. England beat India 2-1 in the men’s bronze medal match,
New Zealand clinched the women’s field hockey gold medal with an upset 4-1 win over Australia, while England beat India 6-0 for bronze. Australia had won gold at four of the last five Commonwealth Games since Kuala Lumpur in 1998.
New Zealand led 3-0 before the Australians scored with 12 minutes left. Australia pulled its goalkeeper with eight minutes left, but the New Zealanders clinched the match when they scored from a penalty corner with four minutes on the clock.
AUSSIES RULE IN ROAD CYCLING
On Saturday morning, Australian cyclist Chloe Hosking hung on during a wild sprint finish with four other competitors to win the gold medal in the women’s road race. Hosking held off several challenges over the past 200 metres from eventual silver medal winner Georgia Williams of New Zealand and Wales rider Danielle Rowe, who took bronze.
Those podium finishers, along with fourth-place Sharlotte Lucas of New Zealand and fifth-place Sarah Roy of Australia, were all given the same time of 3 hours, 2 minutes, 18 seconds for the 112.2-kilometre race on a loop course on the Currumbin beachfront.
“It was just pure relief, it’s so special to have won on home soil,” Hosking said. “Lots of people say road cycling at the Commonwealth Games is not a big deal, but you know what? I’m Commonwealth champion …”
She received plenty of tactical help during the race from her five fellow Australians.
“I wish all of the girls could have ‘Commonwealth Games winner’ on their CV,” Hosking said. “I really couldn’t have won without them.”
Steele Von Hoff made it in Australian double by winning the 168.3 kilometre men’s race in 3:57.01. Jonathan Mould of Wales took silver and South Africa’s Clint Hendricks took the bronze, all in the same time.
AUSTRALIA, ENGLAND TO PLAY FOR NETBALL GOLD
Australia and England will play in the netball gold medal final on Sunday — the first time a Commonwealth Games final in the sport hasn’t featured Australia against New Zealand. England advanced with a 56-55 squeaker over Jamaica while Australia beat New Zealand 65-44.