New Delhi: Pleasantly surprised after Barack Obama took her name while talking about Indian achievers, celebrated Indian woman boxer M C Mary Kom on Tuesday said it felt proud to be acknowledged by the US President.
Addressing a Town hall event at the Siri Fort auditorium on the third and final day of his visit to India, Obama lauded Indian sporting heroes Mary Kom and legendary sprinter Milkha Singh among others.
Mary Kom, who is in the city to promote Tourism Authority of Thailand after being named the Thai Boxing ambassador, said she never expected the mention from the leader.
"I am thankful to him for mentioning my name. He acknowledged my performances over the years. It was surprising because he could have taken anybody's name. I am feeling very proud," the five-time world champion and the reigning Asian Games gold-medallist, decked in a traditional Thai outfit, said.
"If I meet him ever, I will definitely thank him because it is very encouraging," she added with a grin.
The mother-of-three from Manipur, who is currently on road to recovery from a shoulder injury, said she has already started training but has not yet decided on a comeback tournament.
"I am training but as of now, I haven't decided on which tournament to compete because I want to wait for a tournament which would test me. I would like to be part of a tough draw," she said.
Talking about her new association with Thailand Tourism, Mary Kom said she felt humbled at being given the role. "I myself went on a holiday to Thailand recently and I loved the experience. I am thankful to them for making me the brand ambassador," she said.
On being asked whether she has tried her hand at Thai Boxing, which involves the use of the knees and elbows as well, Mary Kom said she would recommend the sport for women in India.
"We all know crime is rising and women can learn something like Thai Boxing to counter any attack. It will be good for them," he said.