M. C. Mary Kom determined to win Olympic gold

“It is something that keeps me going and it’s that one chance I want,” says the distinguished boxer.

All smiles: Mary Kom at a promotional event in Mumbai on Thursday.   -  Vivek Bendre

In her long and illustrious career, M. C. Mary Kom has been an inspiration for many, but who does she take inspiration from?

It’s Muhammad Ali. “He was my inspiration when I took up boxing,” she smilingly reveals while addressing the media on the sidelines of a promotional event for the Tata Mumbai Marathon — of which she is the brand ambassador.

In the ring for nearly two decades, Mary has seen it all. “After all these years, I feel there’s nothing much to achieve. I have all the medals in the game, right? I have medals from the Olympics, Asian Games, World Championships, Commonwealth Games. But I am still hungry for that one medal and that’s gold at the Olympics,” she says.

“It is something that keeps me going and it’s that one chance I want,” she adds.

‘Need to plan things differently’

She knows that to make it to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, her challenge will be immense. “London 2012 was a big challenge for me. It was the first time I fought in the 51kg category. I missed the qualification for Rio. This time I am trying and looking forward to it. I need to plan things differently and the first thing is to make sure I qualify,” she says.

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In the process, she plans to train with young boys who are stronger than her.

In the recent AIBA rankings, Mary bagged the top slot, and she is not surprised to have been ranked No. 1. “I am so happy that my performances have been recognised. I am grateful for the love and support that I have received from the entire country. Your prayers have helped me win a lot of medals,” she says.

‘Don’t worry much’

It hasn’t been easy focussing on winning medals while taking care of three kids, but Mary knows how to strike a balance. “I don’t mind my children being naughty. I don’t mind it when they throw things around. But I discipline them when they fight each other. Otherwise I don’t worry much,” she says with a smile. After all, her sporting career has taught her to be patient.

Mary doesn’t want to think too mcu about ongoing tussle between the International Boxing Association (AIBA) with the the International Olympic Committee (IOC). “I am not sure what the status is. It’s up to the IOC and AIBA. If [boxing is] there its okay, or I can’t do much. I am not worried about myself but for the youngsters,” she says.

“They have trained for many, many years and it will be upsetting if they don’t get a chance to win medals for their country. For me, I have already won a medal at Olympics, but think of the youngsters. Whatever I can do, I will do to promote boxing,” she signs off.