Kolkata: Concerned at the alarming rise of violence against women, five-time world boxing champion and Olympic medallist Mary Kom on Thursday urged women to take up sports for self-defence and to stay fit.
Recalling an incident when she was assaulted by a rickshaw puller, the Manipuri boxer said: "I was travelling alone from the SAI Hostel and when the rickshaw entered a deserted street the puller tried to snatch my bag.
"But I was not one to take it and I punched him hard and he fell down. My coaches arrived and he was handed over to the police," Mary said.
Mary, a mother of three, urged parents to put their children in sports to keep themselves fit.
"Sports is a good way to keep yourself fit. Parents should take the initiative," she said.
Mary said she was determined to become a sportsperson after seeing a lot of action movies in the childhood.
"I had to convince my parents who were against it. I started out as an athlete, but became a boxer after a state championship was held in Manipur," she said.
Terming husband K Onler Kom the pillar of her success, the London Olympics bronze medallist said: "It`s all because of his support I could achieve this. He stood behind me in all the difficult times."
Looking at Rio 2016, Mary said: "I`ll give my best for the gold medal. My experience in London Olympics will be a big help."