Mary Kom: I wouldn’t be here without my family’s support

My husband, my mom and the children, they have been understanding and have let me come and train every day, says Mary Kom.

Mary Kom, a mother of three, with one of her sons.   -  PTI

She knew nothing but gold would satisfy her well-wishers. For Mary Kom, gold was the target and she achieved it in style. Every time she entered the ring, the pressure only mounted. It was something she had gotten used to. An icon of women’s boxing the world over, Mary, a mother of three, displayed the skills and strength of a champion as she claimed her sixth world title. The roar at the Indira Gandhi Stadium when she was declared the winner was incredible. She responded with a nonchalant acknowledgement and then broke down. The stress gave way to emotions and Mary basked in the deafening applause that reverberated at the venue. In an interview, the champion pugilist talks about the state of women’s boxing, staying motivated and her Olympic dream.

The importance of this win?

This win is pathbreaking in many ways. Since Katie’s [Taylor] fifth gold in 2014, I had a wish and a dream to win my sixth gold; finally to make that happen and that too in front of my own countrymen was very, very special. As for me personally also to finally see myself achieve what I had wished for made me extremely emotional and I broke down after the verdict. At the same time, it is also important for the growth of women’s boxing.

The state of women’s boxing...

Almost all top boxers from the world were here for the World Championships. And the opponents were not only good, but [also] included world champions, Olympic medallists and European continental champions. The competition was fierce because the level of women’s boxing has grown in leaps and bounds, especially since the introduction of the game at the Olympics. The way all the Indian boxers competed is commendable as India finished in the top three after almost a decade. Though we had eight medals, including four gold in 2006, the competition that we had that time was not much. We had only 33 nations participating back then and they were not superpowers in boxing as we had in the 10th edition.

Is it about power or skill?

Earlier, the type of boxing I played was only to go and hit; hit and just hit. And it was so strenuous that I could not move my hand after the bout. The body felt like a log which would refuse to move, but if you see my boxing now, it is way different, it is smart. I fight more intelligently rather than just toil! Skill is important, but in modern boxing you also need to have stamina and power and most importantly I have my experience, which sets me apart from the rest and that is my biggest strength. I utilise my experience to plan and then execute.

How do you motivate yourself?

Boxing is my life and my passion. It is enough to give me the motivation. It has never happened in my life that I have missed any practice in a day. So when it comes to boxing, I don’t need to motivate myself.

How realistic is your Olympic dream?

I want to win an Olympic gold. However, I know it is not easy and specially when I have to fight in a different (higher) weight category. But I know if I train well and qualify, then winning gold won’t be a far-fetched dream.

Mary Kom says being an MP is an honour and an opportunity to help others.   -  Sandeep Saxena

 

Which is your favourite win?

To make a comeback and win gold in the Asian Championships would surely be my favourite. A special win. When almost everyone thought I was over and done, to put up a fight was great. I am proud of that win. It will be one of the memorable ones for me.

Your toughest win?

Winning and losing are part of life. If I lose, I don’t think much but move on. That is how I am.

Your disappointment in the sport?

Not able to qualify for the 2016 Olympics is a regret. It really hurt.

Support from your family?

Without their support, I wouldn’t have been here. My husband, my mom and the children, they have been understanding and have let me come and train every day.

What are your future plans?

As of now, need to rest (laughs).

Experience in Parliament?

This is also a responsibility. I get an opportunity to help others and represent people; it is an honour and I hope I can keep doing it.