Mary Kom steps down as chef-de-mission for Paris Olympics

Mary Kom
Mary Kom has quit citing personal reasons. File photo: IANS/Qamar Sibtain

New Delhi: Six-time world champion boxer M C Mary Kom on Friday stepped down as India's chef-de-mission for the upcoming Paris Olympics, saying she is "left with no choice" due to some personal reasons.

Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president P T Usha announced that Mary Kom had asked to be relieved from her position in a letter addressed to her.

"I consider it an honour to serve my country in every way possible, and I was mentally prepared for it. However, I regret that I will not be able to uphold the prestigious responsibility and would like to resign, owing to personal reasons," the 41-year-old stated in a letter to Usha.

"It is embarrassing to retreat from a commitment, which I seldom do, but I am left with no choice. I am there to cheer on my country and the athletes competing in this Olympic Games, with great expectations," she added.

The IOA had announced her appointment on March 21.

The celebrated boxer, who is also a bronze-medallist from the 2012 London Olympics, was to be the logistical in-charge of the country's contingent at the July 26-August 11 Games.

"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."

Usha said she had a conversation with Mary Kom after receiving her letter.

"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," she said.

Mary Kom has also won gold in the 2010 Asian Games besides being a multiple-time Asian champion.

IOA has appointed six-time Winter Olympian and luger Shiva Keshavan as deputy chef-de-mission, while veteran table tennis player and reigning Commonwealth Games champion Sharath Kamal will be India's male flag-bearer.

A female flag-bearer will be named later since many quotas for the Games are yet to be filled.

More than 40 Indian athletes across disciplines have so far qualified for the Paris Games, where the country is hoping to better its last Olympics tally of seven medals, including one gold. 

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