Next target for `Magnificent Mary`: Medal at London Olympics

MC Mary Kom remains hungry for more and will not consider hanging up her gloves.

Last Updated: Sep 19, 2010, 16:05 PM IST

Bridgetown: A historic fifth
successive World Championship gold medal under her belt but
star Indian woman boxer M C Mary Kom remains hungry for more
and will not consider hanging up her gloves before finishing
on podium at the 2012 London Olympics.

The 27-year-old mother-of-two from Manipur brushed aside
the rising international competition in women`s boxing to
clinch a fifth gold medal at the World Championships last
night by thrashing old foe Steluta Duta of Romania 16-6 in the
light fly weight 48kg finals.

Dubbed `Magnificent Mary` by the International Boxing
Association for her historic feat, the diminutive
counter-puncher is the only woman boxer to have clinched a
medal in each of the six World Championships, starting with a
silver in the inaugural edition in 2001.

"I am overwhelmed and don`t even know how to describe
what it feels like. I am just so happy to have done it," the
former Khel Ratna awardee told reporters in an interview after the
unprecedented feat.

Balancing a demanding training schedule with the
responsibility of being the mother of two young children is
not easy but with women`s boxing finding a place in the 2012
Olympics, Mary Kom said has a reason to continue doing the
tough twin jobs.

"It`s very demanding and emotionally draining to leave my
sons behind for competing and training. But I have somehow
managed to do it so far and hopefully I will continue doing it
till at least the London Olympics. I want to win an Olympic
medal, don`t want to go before doing that. That`s my dream,"
she said.

"I know age would be a factor but if I continue to train
hard and remain fit, I think, I would be able to compete and
win a medal," she added.

Women`s boxing would make its debut at the London
Olympics in three weight categories -- flyweight (48-51kg),
lightweight (56-60kg) and middleweight (69-75kg).

Mary Kom will have to bulk up substantially for the fly
weight division but she is confident of coming through.

"Putting on weight and adjusting to it is always tough
but since I would be giving trials for the November Asian
Games in the same division, I think I will have enough to time
to adjust," she said.

Talking about her bout last night, Mary Kom said she
could feel the pressure of expectations but was never nervous
against Duta, whom she had beaten in the World Championship
finals of 2006 and 2008 as well.

"There was pressure on me but it didn`t unsettle me. I
was not nervous. I just kept telling myself that I had to win.
I kept my cool, observed her in the first two rounds and then
attacked her in the third and fourth round," Mary Kom said.

"Although her punches seemed more powerful then last
time, I knew her game way too well to get unsettled by that.
In the end it was not very tough because I knew her technique.
I am aware of her game," she added.

The just-concluded edition was the biggest in terms of
participation with 72 countries in fray but Mary Kom said the
competition, at least in her category, was not too tough. In
fact, the Indian said it was perhaps her easiest campaign so
far.

"I think the first World Championship gold that I won in
2002 in Antalya, Turkey was the toughest. This one was easy. I
was actually having a good time here," she chuckled.

"My foot movement was good and that helped because you
can no longer stay static and out-punch your opponent. You
have to constantly move in the ring. Besides, my body felt
great, I was in good shape," she added.

Asked whether she thought anybody would ever be able to
match her feat, Mary Kom said, "I don`t know. It`s a sport and
records do get broken at some point. I hope mine stays but
then you never know what is there in future. I can only
continue doing what I do best and that is fight with all my
heart inside the ring."

On how she has managed to stay ahead of the continuously
improving international competition, Mary Kom said, " It`s
god`s gift and bit of my will power. I don`t like giving up
without a good fight."

India, who were overall champions in the 2006 Delhi
edition, finished with just one gold and a bronze, through
Kavita (+81kg), this time and Mary Kom said the rather
disappointing performance is a wake-up call.

"We have to bring in fresh ideas to remain competitive.
Because women`s boxing is an Olympic sport, all the countries
are trying hard to improve themselves and even we have to work
hard to remain strong contenders," she said.

PTI