Indian women’s boxing owes everything to six-time World Champion and Olympic medallist M.C. Mary Kom.
It was no surprise that Mary was announced as the brand ambassador, along with film star Farhan Akhtar, for the Women’s World Boxing Championships to be staged at the K.D. Jadhav Hall of the Indira Gandhi Stadium here from March 15 to 26.
“She is the biggest brand in our sport. She is the co-host of the championship”, said the president of the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), Ajay Singh, at a press conference at the championship venue on Monday.
“We want at least three or four gold medals. No less”, said Mary, even as she quickly stressed, “I am missing the World Championship”.
A ligament injury had forced Mary out of the ring for many months and she conceded that when she wants to make a return to the ring, she may have to face many girls to earn her spot.
With the gold medallists assured a cash prize of $100,000 in the World Championship, apart from $50,000 and $25,000 for silver and bronze medals, Mary teased the BFI president by expressing a mock anguish for bringing so much money into the sport when she was not competing.
“I feel so bad and so upset. Sir, this is not fair”, said Mary, as she responded to the BFI president when he quoted the prize money.
On a more serious note, Mary cautioned the athletes not to think about the money and rewards.
“You prove yourself in the ring, and money will come to you. If you are money-minded, you may not perform well”, warned Mary.
“Attitude, arrogance and money can affect your training and preparation. Our performance should not suffer”, Mary pleaded.
Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd. was also announced as the title sponsor for the championship.
Neha Anand of Mahindras said that the organisation was proud to see the company’s logo on the Indian jersey, and be associated with the championship.
“We support the development of sports in India. We want to do more”, said Neha, as she announced that Mahindras would be hosting exciting contests for customers to enjoy the women’s boxing championship and have unforgettable memories.