India's MC Mary Kom scripted history by becoming the country's first woman boxer to win a medal at the Olympics when she finished with a bronze in the 51 kg event at the London Games on Wednesday.
Mary Kom, who had been assured of the bronze on Monday itself when she reached the semi-finals, could not proceed further as she went down fighting in her pre-summit bout against local favourite Nicola Adams.
Losing 6-11, Mary Kom became only the second Indian boxer after Vijender Singh to win an Olympic medal. Vijender got a bronze in Beijing fours years ago.
Buoyed by the presence of British Prime Minister David Cameron and star professional boxer Amir Khan, second-seed Nicola put up a flawless performance.
From the start, Mary Kom struggled to cope up with the Briton's speed. She came under pressure in the first round, having to fend off Nicola's powerful punches.
A couple of times the 29-year-old Indian, a mother of twins, was pinned in the corner and took some major blows, losing the first round 1-3.
The second round was closer as both boxers tried to assert their dominance. However, the five-time World Champion found it difficult to get her way around her quick opponent, who narrowly edged the round 2-1.
The Manipuri stuck it out in the third round before losing it by a whisker.
The final round went pretty much in similar fashion as Mary Kom found it hard to cope with Nicola's superior size. With time running out, the Indian went hell for leather but fell short and lost the round 2-3.
The Indian shared the bronze with US's Marlen Esparza. Women's boxing is making its Olympic debut in London. Both semi-finals losers are awarded bronze medals.
A happy Mary Kom said she was satisfied with her effort.
"It has been a tough journey. I carried on with the support of family and friends. I want to continue playing the game. Despite the loss today, I am satisfied with the way I performed.
Mary Kom's journey to the top of women's world boxing has been an arduous one. With all she has done for the sport, very few people have acknowledged her feats.
Inspired by famous Manipuri boxer Dingko Singh, an Asian Games gold medallist, Mary Kom gave up books for boxing gloves. But she had to hide her interests from her family. All that changed after her victory in the Manipur state women's boxing championship in 2000.
If growing up in the strife-torn state of Manipur was hard, the road to the London Games was harder.
In the inaugural 2001 World Championship, she won the silver and her golden run started in 2002. In 2003, Mary Kom was awarded the Arjuna Award.
Mary Kom became a legend in women's boxing as she bagged a hat-trick of World Championship titles here in 2006. Calls for Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, the country's highest sports honour, became louder but Mary Kom was ignored repeatedly.
The Manipuri fighter vented out her anger after she was ignored despite winning the world title for the record fourth consecutive time in 2008.
Finally, she got the Khel Ratna along with Beijing Games bronze medallists Sushil Kumar and Vijender Singh.
Being a police officer in Manipur, she had to do her job, find time and opponents to practice, and then hunt for funds to build up international experience.
After her success, Mary Kom married K Onler Kom and has twin sons, Rechungvar and Khupneivar. Not only does she have to lend emotional support to her young family but financially she is the main source of income.
Her husband Onler also played a crucial role in her growth and time and again Mary Kom has given him all the credit. He had to stay at home and cater to their twin sons while Mary Kom travelled the world trying to bring laurels.
After a two-year sabbatical that saw her start a family, Mary Kom came back strongly to win the World Championship twice.
After the news of inclusion of women's boxing in the Olympics for the first time, Mary Kom had to make a huge change, going to 51kg category from the 46kg class, where she has fought for most part of her life.
Laishram Devendro Singh is the only Indian boxer left in the Olympics. He takes on Irish boxer Barnes Paddy in the quarter-finals later Wednesday.
Apart from Mary Kom's bronze, there was another piece of good news for India from the showpiece track and field. Middle-distance runner Tintu Luka qualified for the semi-final of the women's 800 metres.
Tintu, who is coached by the legendary PT Usha, finished third in the second heat with a timing of 2:01.75 seconds. It was below her personal best of 1:59.17 seconds achieved two years back.
Yogeshwar fought back strongly in the repechage rounds to notch up three successive victories in the space of less than an hour to provide India its fifth medal at the London Games and the first on the mat.
The 29-year-old from Sonepat in Haryana, who had missed a medal four years ago at the Beijing Olympics, showed excellent technique and fighting spirit to bring off three memorable wins on the trot for the bronze.
In the repechage rounds, in which he had to beat three opponents, Yogeshwar started off with a win over World Championship runner-up Franklin Gomez Matos of Puerto Rico and followed it with another brilliant victory over Iran's Masoud Esmaeilpoorjouybari to be one win away from a medal.
The two victories that came within the space of 20 minutes got Yogeshwar's adrenaline going and he brought off another stupendous come from behind victory over his North Korean rival to fetch the bronze.
In the all-important medal round, Yogeshwar started on a wrong foot conceding a point to his strong North Korean rival, who seemed to have the upper hand initially.
However, the tide changed drastically in favour of the Indian in the next period in which he took a point to draw level with Myong Ri and leave the stage set for a dramatic finish.
But as things turned out, Yogeshwar was at the height of his prowess in the final period which saw him score a staggering six technical points in a jiffy to seal the issue in his favour.
Using all his experience and technique to the fullest, Yogeshwar managed to pull Myong Ri down on the mat, and then rolled him over a few times to lay claim on the well-deserved bronze, which he has been yearning for the past four years.
Yogeshwar earlier fought off the challenges from Matos and Esmaeilpoorjouybari, winning 3-0 and 3-1 respectively, to be in the contention for the bronze medal.
The Haryana grappler got lucky against Matos, winning the toss on both the occasions to earn a clinch position, which the experienced grappler, in his third Olympics, converted to the best of his capabilities.
With the score line reading 0-0 at the end of the first period, Yogeshwar got into the favourable position and was able to get one technical point, which was enough to gain the initial advantage.