By Aritra Chowdury
Five-time World boxing champion M.C. Mary Kom claims she is physically and mentally determined to win gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics, fulfilling the expectations of her country.
Mary Kom, the only Indian boxer to have a bio-pic made on her, also said after her retirement post the Olympics, she wants to invest her experience in training talented youths to create boxers like herself.
Mary Kom, who bagged a bronze in the flyweight (51 kilogram) category at the 2012 London Olympics, has already announced her decision to quit after the Rio mega event.
"I am back to my normal shape and ready physically and mentally. I am determined to clinch gold this time and this way I will fulfill the expectation of millions of people," Mary Kom told IANS in an interview.
"I want to invest my experience to the budding and talented youth and create more Mary Kom and champions for the country," the Manipuri said.
The 32-year-old is currently training in Bengaluru to prepare herself for the 2016 World Championships, the first Olympic qualifying event scheduled to be held next February.
She said the championships will be very tough contest as contestants around the world will fight to qualify for the Olympics.
"This championship will decide our fate to reach Olympic podium. This will be a qualifying round for all boxers around the world towards the long awaited Rio Olympics 2016. This championship will be very tough mentally, physically and technically. This will remain a big challenge for all," Mary said.
After winning bronze at London, Mary Kom gave birth to a baby. She returned to training last year after a long gap. She failed to qualify for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in May, but became the first Indian boxer to win gold at the Asian Games last October.
Asked how she stayed fit despite taking regular breaks from training, she said it was because of her determination to return to the ring.
"It is a miracle that after several cuts, I still am fit enough to train hard and continue to play this far. All glory to God, who healed my wounds. It is also partly because of my faith and strong determination not to give up," Mary Kom said.
She is seeking help from the government and corporate houses to build a full-fledged sports complex to train boxers post her retirement.
"I want to have a full-fledged sports complex with world class facilities, accommodate 50 boys and 50 girls with residential facilities so that they can fully concentrate on their training apart from other responsibilities and demands," she said.
"Also provide them a cohesive sports environment with all requirements so as to produce champions for the country in the world's arena. For this, I will require support from our people, government and corporate sectors."
Mary Kom also extended her best wishes to fellow Indian boxer and Olympic middleweight bronze medallist Vijender Singh for turning professional and hoped he would excel in his new endeavour.
Speaking on the launch of India's first professional boxing body Indian Boxing Council (IBC), she said: "I appreciate the formation; may it bring good to the country and especially to those talented boxers who intend to go pro."
When asked about the future of boxing in the country, she said updating training procedures and facilities would facilitate the sport.
"Future cannot be told. No doubt, we have loads of potentials in us but how we deal and guide those potentials matter. Competitions are tough now," she opined.
"We really need to work really hard, study our good opponents, update our training procedures, systems, techniques, strategies and facilities."