Packing a punch

Published: 08 November, 2013 10:54 IST | Nilesh Rao |

"Boxing is a knockout sport, you have to make a smashing effort every time to win a bout," says Mary Kom, boxing legend and bronze medalist at the 2014 London Olympics. In an interview to CS, she talks about her trials and tribulations

An active childhood
I was a naughty child who was always getting into fights with the boys around. Also, I was actively involved in all kinds of sports in school be it football, handball, volleyball, javelin throw or running race. I even participated in the marble and spoon race. My team always won the first prize in school.

Mary Kom
Who: Mary Kom, Boxer
What: Talking about her struggles and success

My teachers would often advise me to pursue a sport. Since, I liked watching fight sequences in films and my friends practising boxing in the rings, I decided to give it a try. I approached the coach but he turned me down saying that I was too young. He allowed me to use the boxing ring though. Terribly upset, I took it upon myself to train myself. I hid this from my family too. But when I won the Manipur State Boxing Championship in 2000, my father learnt of it from the newspapers. He was very upset and warned me to give it up because if I got injured, it would cost a lot of money in hospitalisation, which we couldn’t afford. But I managed to convince him otherwise. Success came quickly with national and international recognitions and several gold and silver medals.

A challenge in itself
When I started out, people from the village would make fun of me saying, ‘it’s a guy’s game, what will I do with all these medals, there’s less money in it, only education will ensure a job etc. But I wanted to prove them wrong. Despite all the opposition, I won several awards. After my marriage, people said my career was over but I went ahead and won the World Championship twice. When I became a mother and gained weight, they again wrote me off but I won the bronze in the Olympics. My advice to the young talent is to work hard and take on challenges with full spirit.

Out of the boxing ring
My husband Onler Kom is the most supportive person around. He tells me to follow my heart. He takes care of the home and kids while I am away. At home, I am the regular housewife who loves to cook, clean and look after her kids. I prepare some yummy rice and vegetarian curry. In my leisure time, I catch up on sleep and watch Hindi films. I enjoy shopping -- buying branded stuff for my family and visiting air-conditioned malls because Imphal, my home town, can be very hot at times. I like to dress up in good clothes and wear make-up for social events.

Looking forward
I lead a disciplined lifestyle. I start my day at 6am with a jog, skip and my boxing practice. At the Olympics, I was training with foreign coaches and it was tough because I was fighting with men who were tougher and taller than me. My dream is to win a gold medal in the 2016 Olympics.

Life on celluloid
I was very excited to know that a film is being made on my life. Priyanka Chopra will do a good job, I am sure. She had come to my house and asked me questions on my life. I was happy to share my experiences with her.  

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