I will surely win a gold in Rio de Janeiro, If they have 46 kg and 48 kg categories
Even as she is basking in the glory of her Olympics victory in the 2012 Games, boxer Mary Kom, who bagged a bronze medal, has already set her sights on the next Olympics in 2016.
“I will try to give my best in Rio de Janeiro. If they have 46 kg and 48 kg categories then I will surely win a gold, if not I will give my best,” she said at a felicitation ceremony organised by the Edelweiss Group on Thursday.
After the Olympics medal life has not been the same again. “I have completed 12 years of boxing. There was little recognition earlier. It was a challenge to face comparisons with other sportspersons. But now I like the fact that I am recognised. My dream has been fulfilled. In the Beijing Olympics, only men won medals. So, I am happy to have won a medal,” she told journalists.
Ms. Kom said she was the first medal winner from the northeast. “I am happy that youngsters from the northeast will be motivated by my achievement.”
Responding to a question from the media on the strife in Assam and exodus of people from the northeast, Ms. Kom voiced a message of peace. Ms. Kom underlined the attitude of men towards women boxers as her first challenge when she took up the sport.
“Boxing is not easy. When I started, my male friends would say it is not a woman’s sport. But I say if men can do it then why not women.”
Ms. Kom said marriage and motherhood also posed as a challenge to her. “When I had two children even my father did not believe in me, let alone others. However, my family’s love and support helped me to reach my dream.”
The tough boxer was moved and in tears when she expressed her gratitude to all Indians for their support. “I was surprised,” she remarked, “that everybody, from all religions, was praying for me. I am thankful for that.”
Ms. Kom’s husband Onler Kom said, “Everyone thinks she made it because of my support, but I am just doing my ‘homework.’ Because of my love for Mary, I can cook and wash and do everything. She says, ‘If men can do it why not women?’ And I say if women can do it, why not men?”
Asked if she would like to see her twin sons become sportspersons, especially boxing, Ms. Kom replied, “Yes, I would be very happy. As it is they fight a lot.”
Hoping that the next Olympics has more weight categories, Ms. Kom said she would continue her fitness training. Her doctor Nikhil Latey, who attended the event, said Ms. Kom’s “best weight” was 46 kg.
“It was a massive effort to move her from a lower to higher weight category. She was fighting opponents who weighed 54 kg and were four inches taller than her and yet she managed a bronze. She works very hard and also loves to sleep,” he said.
The Edelweiss Group presented Ms. Kom a life insurance policy of Rs. 2 crore. Group Chairman and CEO Rashesh Shah said Ms. Kom was an inspiration as an athlete as well as a human being.