Five-time boxing world champion M.C. Mary Kom is all set to become the first Indian woman and the fifth sportsperson overall to hold an honorary rank in the country’s defence forces as she will be made a Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army.
Mary Kom said the official announcement about the honour would be made shortly.
“It’s in the process and the announcement (by the Army) will come very soon,” she said when asked about the reported move by the Army.
If conferred the rank, Mary Kom will join cricketers Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev and Olympic gold-medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra to be given honorary ranks by the country’s defence forces.
Dhoni, Kapil and Bindra were made Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army while Tendulkar holds the rank of honorary Group Captain in the Indian Air Force.
Mary Kom, who is the only woman boxer to qualify for London Games, said the Olympics will be less competitive than the World Championships and she is confident of winning a medal.
“Olympics will be easier in the sense that the competitors will be less and if you win your first bout you will be in the quarterfinals,” Mary Kom, who would be competing in 51kg category, said on the sidelines of a programme organised by electronics giant Samsung to announce incentives for London Olympics.
“My training is going very well and I am prepared. So, I am confident of winning a medal in London Olympics but I cannot say whether it will be gold or silver or bronze.
Winning a medal in Olympics is my dream,” she said.
Asked who could be the boxer to beat in the Olympics, she picked her nemesis and world number one Ren Cancan of China.
Cancan had beaten Mary Kom in both the 2010 Asian Games and Asian Championships this year.
“I lost to her (Ren Cancan) twice recently. She is a tough opponent. So I have to be prepared. But once you enter the ring anything can happen and I think I can beat her,” she said.
Mary Kom was all praise for the Sports Ministry, the IOA, the Indian Boxing Federation and the sponsors for the support they gave her for her Olympic preparations.
“The preparation has been quite satisfying and I am happy with the way I have been training for the Olympics. The facilities in Pune were very good and I have been getting support from the ministry, the IOA and my federation,” she said.
“I am also being supported by Olympic Gold Quest and they are providing me support for my training like giving a trainer. I can say I am well-prepared for the challenge,” said the mother-of-two Manipuri.
“I will leave for the Olympics on July 21 and will train in Liverpool under Charles Atkinson. He (Atkinson) will decide my training partner,” she said.
Asked about her training with male boxers in Pune, Mary Kom said, “Training with male boxers will be beneficial to me as they are taller and heavier also. I will be fighting boxers taller and heavier than me in the Olympics,” she said.
Samsung today announced that a family member of each Indian athlete in London Olympics under its sponsorship can travel with them at the company expense.
Asked who would accompany her, Mary Kom said, “Either my mother or father will go with me though I want to take them both.”