2017’s top 10 — Mary Kom: This mom still packs a punch

Once she got into the rigours of the camp, it did not take long for Mary Kom to find her competitive groove.

M. C. Mary Kom, the torch-bearer of women’s boxing in India.   -  M. Moorthy

The year 2017 was a memorable one for Indian boxing’s iconic figure, M. C. Mary Kom.

The ‘ageless wonder’ made a stunning comeback after being out of action for almost a year. Mary, whose previous appearance was at the World Championship in May 2016 — she missed the bus to the Rio Olympics — was busy with her commitments before making up her mind to return to the ring.

She rejoined the National camp in February but was not a regular till June due to various assignments, including a role as a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha.

However, once she got into the rigours of the camp, it did not take long for Mary to find her competitive groove.

An exposure event in Mongolia in June and a training stint in Ireland, where she was honoured for her multiple medals (five World titles and a bronze at the Olympics), tuned her up for the Asian Championship in Ho Chi Minh City.

The experienced boxer, who has switched from 51 kg to her favourite 48 kg, produced a string of fine performances before beating North Korea’s Hyang Mi Kim by a unanimous decision in the final.

Mary’s Asian crown — her fifth — will keep her in good stead for the Commonwealth and Asian Games for 2018.

The laurel

Asian championship

48kg Gold

 

‘Tokyo 2020 gold my ultimate aim’

Five-time World champion and 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist Mary Kom was full of enthusiasm after claiming her fifth Asian title. She said the triumph had “laid the foundation” for her to perform well in bigger events next year. The 34-year-old revealed her desire to add to her already-impressive collection of trophies.

How do you look back at 2017?

I am really happy the way the Asian Championship panned out. I would like to dedicate this victory to all those who supported me even though the world had written me off. I would like to thank my coaching staff who worked hard with me over the last few months.

In a long career spanning 17 years, you made quite a few comebacks. What motivates you?

God has been kind to me. He has given me good health so that I can still continue. I have achieved almost everything — gold medals in the World Championship, the Asian Games and the Asian Championship and a bronze medal at the Olympics. But my dream is not fulfilled yet. I am thinking of winning an Olympics gold medal. Whether I can do it is another thing. If I can achieve my dream in 2020, it will be good. If I cannot, it’s okay. But as of now this is my motivation.

How did you manage to handle so many activities?

Multi-tasking was very tough – boxing, my academy, various commitments, the Rajya Sabha and above all, my family. It continues like that but I am happy everything is going off well.

What makes you go through the daily grind?

There is not a single day when I wake up and don’t feel like training. That is what has kept me going. I must thank God for being so kind to me.

It was the Asian title this year. What next?

My target is to do well in the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games next year. My ultimate aim is to win an Olympic gold in Tokyo 2020.