Mary Kom
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Champions, too, are mortals. They are emotional and jovial as well. A meeting with legendary boxer Mary Kom gives credence to this.
Champions, too, are mortals. They are emotional and jovial as well. A meeting with legendary boxer Mary Kom gives credence to this.
Having won her sixth World Championship title for the sixth time after beating Ukraine's Hanna Okhota in 45-48kgs in Women's Boxing World Championships in New Delhi last month, the feeling for Mary Kom is yet to sink in, it seems, even though it may be her umpteenth crown.
 
Mary Kom is still on a high and the child-like enthusiasm and excitement for a 35-year-old, mother of three, is visible. And why not. The champion has achieved what others couldn't.
 
The boxer is as simple as anyone can be. While there was no match to her in the championship, ask her if there were any tough opponents she faced, Mary Kom says "Toughest, kaun hoga 48kg category (who is tough in 48 category?). I didn't face any tough opponents this time in World Championships. All were normal for me because my confidence level was high. I had trained and prepared myself well before the tournament."
 
Having played in the Asian Championships in Vietnam, Mary Kom says she expected some stronger boxers. "I was expecting some boxers from some countries must be stronger, but when I fought Asian Championship, I realised they are not that strong."
 
"All the young boxers are smart, clever and intelligent, also, but I'm better," the words coming may sound arrogant, but there is humility in her voice. "I have the quality, experience wise, too, which really helped me. I am focussed, I don't miss training sessions, It's my principle. If I miss them, I I won't be able to be the kind of champion I'm," she says of her preparations after the launch of Stars of Tomorrow, an initiative by the Indian Federation of Sports Gaming.
 
From nowhere Mary Kom brings in the topic of her missed Parliament sessions while discussing boxing. Mary Kom was appointed Member of Parliament in Rajya Sabha in 2016.
 
"While I'am preparing in the difficult phase (during injury time), media comes out asking whether I'm going to Parliament. That was frustrating and unnecessary. It's (politics) not my profession and the media gave me tension. Why do they write negative against me or talk about Sachin's (Tendulkar) 8 per cent attendance? Comparing each other and making enemies.
 
It's (politics) a different field. I will try to give some good services from whatever opportunity the government has given me. It's not right to write whether I am a perfect politician. I am not at all. Learn something from the Parliament," she says with a laugh.
 
Ask her from where does all this motivation comes from? "We have to ask God, why am I not tired. Why I have all the energy why others don't have. Sit together, call him down and ask the question, the solution will come," she quips again with a hearty chuckle.
 
Mary Kom has her task cut for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. "(During the) World Championships, I have noticed those who are fighting in the 51kg category. Some are finding it tough in the qualification. Others are normal. I have got all the videos ready and will prepare accordingly," she says
 
However, she says she will struggle to get a sparring partner. "It's very difficult to get a partner. Here we don't have partners, and women are not there to help us. This is the difference. People don't come forward to help us. The thinking is to do good only to themselves and not the country. That is the mentality. How can we change?"
 
Mary Kom has a back-up plan. "If my training partner is not there I will hire boys taller and heavier than me. I did the same in 2012. Achieve karna hai toh, karna hai (What I have to achieve, I will achieve). I want a stronger partner who can attack, only then I can learn. If I keep on punching and the partner keeps on getting punched then how will I improve?" she replies, again with a laugh.