Mary Kom thankful to all for support; hopes for better show in Rio

M.C. Mary Kom knew that an Olympic medal carries a lot of weight. But she never imagined it could bring her overnight stardom.

Mary, who claimed a bronze medal in the women’s flyweight boxing, was awe-struck on receiving a warm welcome on her arrival from London on Tuesday morning. Hours later, she was overwhelmed to see a large gathering at a function organised by the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry to felicitate her with a cheque for Rs. 10 lakh.

Mary was at a loss for words to express her feelings. However, she regained her composure to thank all countrymen for their support. “I have won five world titles; I have never seen anything like this. I am very excited. At the same time, I am scared to see such a gathering,” said the mother of twin boys.

She expressed her joy by gracefully shaking a leg with members of a Manipuri tribal dance troupe, which performed in honour of the ace boxer.

Prized possession

Mary treated her bronze medal as a prized possession and thanked God for her success. “The bronze medal is very special to me because it is not easy to get an Olympic medal,” said the 29-year-old, who hoped that her success would help her arrange better facilities for budding boxers at her academy in Manipur.

Mary admitted that she was nervous during her Olympic semifinal bout, which she lost to British boxer Nicola Adams. “I got nervous because of the crowd. It did not feel good as the margin of defeat was big (6-11),” she said.

“When I reached this morning, my son asked me, ‘You lost to that black boxer?’ If I had beaten her, he would have been happier. Next time, I will try to do it.”

Thankful

Mary did not forget to thank her countrymen in the hour of glory. “I am extremely happy that the whole country supported me. People from every religion prayed for me and I came back with a medal.

“My target was the gold medal. I will try for it in Rio. Please support me again in Rio,” said Mary. She added that, if given a chance, she would prefer to box in her favourite 48kg category in the next Olympics.

Union Tribal Affairs Minister V. Kishore Chandra Deo hailed Mary as the ‘Tribal superwoman.’

“She is the first tribal sportsperson to win an individual Olympic medal,” said Deo.

Coach Anoop Kumar said Mary’s achievement would give a huge fillip to women’s boxing in the country. “This will give true recognition to the sport,” he said.

Amid all the happiness, Mary, nevertheless, was disappointed that the men’s boxing team returned empty-handed. “I feel bad that they did not win a medal. I was expecting two to three medals.”

She took pot-shots at the quality of judging in the Olympics. “Not only from Indians, there were so many protests from other countries too. I was surprised that a boxer (Vikas) lost after winning a bout. I have never heard of such a thing in my 12 years of experience in international boxing,” she said.

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