Interview: "CWG medal missing from my cabinet," says MC Mary Kom
Job at the Asian Championships done, the 34-year-old Manipuri boxer now targets the elusive CWG medal.
Train hard, be fearless and enjoy every bout. M.C. Mary Kom has strictly followed this simple principle in her close to two decades of a successful boxing career. Be it during her training or bouts against the toughest opponents, she is fearless, confident and ready with her counter attacks. She believes her “experience” and “attitude” are what makes her opponents wary of her. And that’s the reason, she proudly claims that “if I’m fit, nobody can beat me."
The margin of verdicts the Indian star boxer has recorded in her recent wins en route to her Asian Championships gold justified her statement. At 34, her speed and stamina are too good to give the best a run for their money and this was witnessed through her dominant performances in Vietnam, signalling that she is not going to stop anytime soon.
Competing in her preferred 48 kg category after almost five years, Mary Kom was back with a bang—she was competing in 51 kg category in the last few years and was making a comeback after three years—as she overcame Hyang Mi Kim of North Korea 5-0 in a unanimous verdict in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. This was the Manipuri pugilist’s fifth gold in the continental event after triumphing in 2003, 2005, 2010 and 2012.
“Comebacks are never difficult for me. I am never worried or nervous to be back in the ring. My first priority has always been my training and I have told this before also that if I have trained hard and I’m fit, nobody can touch me."
"This time too, I had undergone intense training and was in a good shape. All my effort, hard work and support of my coaches and federation are paying off,” Mary Kom told this correspondent before heading to Lausanne for the IOC athletes forum where she is representing the International Boxing Association (AIBA).
For the past couple of years, Mary Kom has been participating in 51kg category and has won medals in the same too, including the London Olympics bronze. But ask the boxer and she will tell you that the 48kg is what she finds most comfortable.
And surely it must be a task to switch categories quite often. However Mary Kom says: “Yes, it’s difficult for most of the boxers. But for me, it not much of a change as my actual body weight while I’m training is 48 kg. And when I’m not, its 49-50 kg. So it hardly makes a difference. It's just that in 48kg, I feel a lot stronger. I think for me it's easier to lose weight than to gain.”
Her glittering cabinet already has medals from the Asian Games (2014 Incheon gold, Guangzhou bronze), World Championships (gold in 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010), the Olympics (London bronze) besides the Asian Championships trium. “A Commonwealth Games medal is something missing from my cabinet. So my next target is the 2018 CWG gold. I will try my best to make my country proud,” she said.
Besides, there has been another miss which has been really tough for the boxer. And she admits the Rio Olympics miss is still fresh on her mind and it was “disappointing”. However, the seasoned boxer has moved on looking ahead to another year. “I had the belief that I’m not done yet. I just kept motivating myself that there is another year, another Olympics. Rio is not the end. It’s important to keep trying and never give up. And I never gave up.”
“Qualification for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be the first step. And if I do, I will aim for the gold, even if it’s not in 48kg category,” added the mother of three, who has been an inspiration for boxing aspirants in the country. A fighter, a mother, a parliamentarian and a boxing icon, Mary Kom has many duties to perform and she is enjoying every moment of it and has emerged as a true champion every individual strives to emulate.