Nepal | May 29, 2020

Yearning for Olympic gold, ‘Magnificent Mary’ keeps punching

Share Now:

FILE PHOTO: India’s boxer MC Mary Kom punches a bag during a training session at Balewadi Stadium in Pune, about 190 km (118 miles) from Mumbai, March 12, 2012. Photo: Reuters

MUMBAI: MC Mary Kom has spent close to two decades slugging it out in the ring but even at 36 one of the most decorated women boxers in the amateur game has no intention of quitting before she gets a chance to land the ultimate prize in Tokyo next year.

‘Magnificent Mary’, as she is known in India, was a bronze medallist at the 2012 Olympics in London and won a record sixth gold medal at the World Amateur Boxing Championships last year.

Her most recent gold came after a gap of eight years and, with the 2020 Olympics on the horizon, the trailblazing mother of three is not done yet.

“I believe the hunger and desire to take on challenges has kept me going,” Mary Kom told Reuters in an interview.

“I always like to challenge myself and accomplish them, it keeps me motivated to take on new ones.

“The new challenge for me is to win my first ever Olympic gold medal.”

The pint-sized puncher, who has also won gold medals at the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, won her first world championship silver in 2001 and had targeted the 2016 Rio Games as her swansong.

Failing to qualify for the quadrennial showpiece was a heartbreaking setback given the amount of time and hard work she had put in for training, and she conceded the thought of hanging up her gloves had crossed her mind.

“It has happened at times,” said Mary Kom, who last month signed a two-year deal with Puma to be their ambassador for women’s training in India.

“Because family is equally important, but I believe that’s where I have been really lucky as my family has always motivated me to continue boxing and since it is my only passion I have always wanted to achieve more.”

As well as her opponents, Mary Kom has also had to fight negative perceptions about women’s boxing in what is still a socially conservative country.

In that regard, she considers herself fortunate to come from the state of Manipur in India’s northeast, where boys and girls are treated more equally.

In some Indian states, gender bias and sex-selective abortion are not uncommon and girls are often viewed as a financial burden because of the dowry given by the bride’s family to the groom – an illegal but prevailing social custom.

Mary Kom was also greeted with scepticism when she started her career in the ring and had to keep it a secret from her parents. It was only when her picture appeared in a local newspaper that she confessed she was a fighter.

But success came quickly and she was a world champion before her marriage. The doubters were back on her case when she returned to the ring after starting her family but Mary Kom has continued to prove them wrong.


The face of the campaign to get women’s boxing into the Olympics in London, Mary Kom’s story ultimately captured the imagination of the country’s film industry and a biopic of her life came out in 2014.

She now has three boys of her own to raise and balancing boxing and motherhood is a daily challenge, and one that is only going to get harder as the Tokyo Olympics approach.

Mary Kom won her latest world title at light flyweight but at the Olympics has to move up to flyweight, the lightest of the five categories in Tokyo.

In the past she has also faced problems in finding the right sparring partner.

“I am focusing on my diet and doing the regular training,” said the Muhammad Ali fan. “The weight category will be tough and you have to be really, really focused as there are some good boxers in that category.

“I have a good coach and good support staff who are now capable enough to condition me for the best of opponents and I am going to continue with this.”

Boxing’s future as an Olympic sport is shrouded in uncertainty with planning for the Tokyo Olympic tournament on hold due to financial and governance issues in amateur boxing’s governing body AIBA.

But Mary Kom is not going to allow her attention to stray.

“I think as athletes our focus is to play to the best of our potential and not think of anything else,” she said. “Hopefully things will be taken care of.

“My job is to continue to train and be in the best version of myself. I should be ready for any condition.”


Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

Are we doing enough for the mental health of healthcare workers?

The number of coronavirus patients has been increasing over the past few days in Nepal. In the current scenario, it seems like the numbers would further increase in the coming days. Given that healthcare workers and frontline staff are the first responders to manage the ongoing pandemic with limited Read More...

Police recover two muzzle-loader guns in Kohalpur

NEPALGUNJ: Armed Police Force personnel recovered two abandoned muzzle-loader guns in Kohalpur Municipality-8 in Banke district, today. Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Shyam Kumar Karki said that they recovered the weapons along with ammunition, shrapnel shells, and other items under Sikta Read More...

Nepal Electricity Authority

1300 MW electricity to be added to the national grid

KATHMANDU: The government is all set to add 1,300-MW electricity to the national power grid of the country within the next fiscal year. A goal has been set to complete all the ongoing hydropower projects and expedite the under-construction projects in the country. The government is planning to Read More...

More European leagues set to return to action

BERN: European football will continue its cautious return to play following the COVID-19 stoppage over the next week as a number of the continent's smaller leagues restart with some novelties and one team in serious trouble for breaking coronavirus rules. Portugal, Denmark, Poland, Serbia, Aust Read More...

India open to engaging with Nepal on the basis of mutual sensitivity, respect: MEA India

KATHMANDU: The External Affairs Ministry of India has expressed that it is willing to hold talks with Nepal in regard to the existing boundary issue between the two countries. Speaking at a presser today, the Indian MEA's official spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said India is monitoring the situat Read More...

Miss Nepal Shrinkhala calls for action to help migrant workers stranded at Nepal-India border

Kathmandu, May 28 Miss Nepal World 2018 Shrinkhala Khatiwada is indeed a beauty with a purpose. She has lent her voice to the issues of migrants stranded on the Nepal-India border, showing her support for CNN Hero of the Year of 2015 Maggie Doyne and how we can help them. In a short video post Read More...

Italy's Serie A gets green light for June 20 restart

Sports minister Spadafora says top-flight soccer can resume Italian Cup matches could be staged before league restarts Serie A will be fourth of Europe's top five leagues to return Juventus hold one point lead over Lazio with 12 games left ROME: Italy's top-flight Serie A soccer le Read More...

English Premier League announces June 17 restart

League to resume season subject to safety requirements Starts with Villa v Sheffield Utd and Man City v Arsenal Full fixture list scheduled for weekend of June 19-21 All of the remaining 92 fixtures to be broadcast live MANCHESTER, ENGLAND: The Premier League season will restart Read More...