New Delhi: She has pulled herself up for a second time targetting another first for an Indian woman boxer but as Olympic bronze-medallist M C Mary Kom gears up for the Commonwealth Games, the five-time world champion says the thought of quitting has crossed her mind several times.
Speaking to PTI ahead of the trials for the Commonwealth Games, the mother of three from Manipur, who was christened 'Magnificent Mary' by the International Boxing Association (AIBA), spoke about her career and future.
"I do think of quitting and one day I have to retire. But I have still not fulfilled some of my aims," Mary Kom, who competes in the 51kg category, said.
"I always wanted a gold in the Olympics and I want to achieve that. But I do think that it would boil down to my performance. If it slips than I will not continue. I am setting short term goals. Only if I feel I am upto it, I would go," said the 31-year-old.
Mary Kom. File Pic
She is back in the ring after a one-year sabbatical following the birth of her third child and the Manipuri has no hesitation in admitting that it is difficult to stage comebacks.
"I have been training for one month. It was tough to pull myself up but then I could tell myself that I can pull myself up. I have always motivated myself to toughen up," she said candidly.
Mary Kom last took a sabbatical in 2008 after winning her third world title and came back quite brilliantly to clinch her fourth gold medal at the mega-event.
"It hurts when people question my ability after every break. I feel very bad. If I feel I am not good enough, I will myself quit. I don't need to be told. This hurts," she said.
But sceptics would point out that she is not getting any younger and is faced with competition which is more agile and has age on its side.
"In a way it is motivating and I feel it becomes a challenge. I just give my best. If I don't have the passion than it would be difficult," she said. "I hope they (the competition) are stronger than me. But I have experience. If I get the time to train myself well then even now no one can match up to me. This is my confidence," she asserted. "But one should be confident, not over-confident. The key is to strike a balance."
On how she would deal with the expectations considering her sustained dominance at the top level," Mary Kom said, "I will try to prove myself. A lot of luck is also needed. It is a combination of hard work and luck."
Talking about the Commonwealth Games, Mary Kom said, "It is funny, I, who has been around for such a long time, will be making my debut at CWG. But I am very happy although the competition will be very tough."
"But good competition brings out the best in me." On the mess in Indian boxing after the international termination of the federation, Mary Kom said it has become an insult.
"It is an insult. What is happening now is just not nice. But as a boxer, I have to remain hopeful and positive. But I would say, please think for the youngsters. They are still dreaming. It would be better for them because people like us have got a lot," she signed off.