Mary Kom: I can carry on with multiple roles in the years to come
Indian boxing star MC Mary Kom, who recently won her fifth Asian Championships gold medal in the 48kg in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, says boxing has always been her top priority and she has got used to multi-tasking over the years. She wears many hats besides being a boxer — a Parliamentarian, mother, wife, daughter and recently, she was handed over the added responsibility of being a government observer for boxing in India.
When asked how does she manage to juggle all roles, she said, "It has not been difficult. I have always prioritised boxing more than anything else. But that does not mean that I have not been true to the other responsibilities. Over the years, I have learnt the act of balancing my responsibilities through efficient time-management. I believe I can carry on with multiple roles in the years to come as well without much of a problem."
Mary Kom with husband Onler
The Manipuri boxer won the Asian title at the age of 34, but asked if there is a dearth of talent in the country or less competition, she said, "I do not think this is a right perspective. There is no dearth of quality in India and it was evident by the way we finished at the Asian Championship with seven medals, possibly the best performance ever. Some of the youth girls are also very talented. India's future is quite bright," Mary Kom told mid-day from Lausanne, Switzerland, where she is representing the International Boxing Association (AIBA) at the IOC athletes forum (November 11-13).
When Mary Kom was asked about the competition in Asia as compared to the Olympic or international level, she felt that there isn't much of a difference. "The competition is the same everywhere you go. It all comes down to the day of the bout and who fights better. So, I don't think that quality-wise the Asian boxers lack anything," said Mary Kom, who loves listening to music and spending time with her kids.
Meanwhile, it is often seen in the corporate world that a woman makes a comeback to her profession after her children grow up as she gets some time. When asked if it is the same for her, she added, "I can talk for myself because I think it is very different in each person's life. Returning to boxing and leaving my one-year-old twins was an extremely difficult phase for me. I missed them and wanted to be with them. But then, I could not let go of my boxing as well. So yeah, it was indeed very hard for me but then I made sure that I got regular updates about them. I do make it a point to spend time with my kids whenever I am not training or playing a tournament."
The 2012 Olympic bronze medallist boxer has switched weight categories many times. Commenting on how she copes with it, she said, "I have been into boxing for a long time. I have gone through rigorous training throughout my career. It is indeed difficult to switch weight categories especially the adjustments that need to suit the category. So even though it takes a toll, for me, to add weight is not an easy thing. But I believe with a right set of support staff, the transition becomes smooth."
'Behind every successful man, there is a woman', they say but in Mary Kom's case it is the opposite — it is her husband Onler who has been the driving force.
"He [Onler] has been my biggest pillar of support. Had it not been for his unending support, I don't think so I would have been able to achieve whatever I have in my career. I cannot explain in words the way he has looked after the family and kids only so that I could achieve my dream. His contribution towards me becoming a champion has been immense. His support has always been the same be it in the past or now."