World championship tougher than Olympics: Mary Kom

Having already qualified for the Olympics, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awardee, MC Mary Kom is putting in all her energy to win a medal in women’s boxing, which is making its debut at the London Olympics. The mother of two is tipped to be India’s best bet to win a gold medal at the event.

High hopes: MC Mary Kom at the Bombay Gymkhana yesterday. Pic/Shadab Khan

With five World Championship titles in her kitty, The one medal that’s missing in her cupboard is an Olympic medal. The star pugilist was in the city along with shooters Sanjeev Rajput and Vijay Kumar to celebrate 50 days to the Olympics, at Bombay Gymkhana. The event was organised by Olympic Gold Quest (OGQ) yesterday.

Excerpts from an interview:

How will you tackle the pressure of winning a medal in London?
It is obvious that people will expect a medal from me. Also, this is the first time women’s boxing is included at Olympics, so I want to create history and make my country proud. There are less boxers fighting in the Olympics as compared to the World Championship. So, I feel competing in a World Championship is much tougher than competing at the Olympics.

You had a tough time prior to Olympic qualification. What went through your mind at that time?
I was shattered when I lost in the quarterfinals of the World Boxing championships to Nicola Adams 11-13. My dream of competing in the Olympics almost came to an end. Winning and losing is part of the game, but I didn’t expect that loss to come at such a crucial time. But when I learnt that I have qualified for London, I was blank for a moment. Pressure at the Olympics will be lesser compared to the qualification tournament.

How are you preparing for the event?
I have had some gruelling training sessions with my coach Charles Atkinson. He has helped me improve my fitness and technique. Now I hope to execute it well in London.

How difficult is the shift in weight category?
I didn’t find the shift in weight category (from 48 kg to 51 kg) difficult. Also, Olympics don’t have 48kg category, so I had no choice, but to shift to a higher weight category.

Who could pose a threat to your medal hopes?
Chinese boxer Ren Cancan and Britain’s Nicola Adams.

Don’t you miss family while staying away from home?
As a mother, it is very difficult to stay away from my two sons, Rechungvar and Khupneivar. But I am glad to have a supporting husband like Onler, who takes care of them in my absence and has been the pillar of my strength.  

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