We can spend hours talking about the achievements in the ring of one of the best ever women boxers, if not the best. MC Mary Kom has seen her hand raised in all major international boxing events, clinching an astonishing number of medals that includes five gold at AIBA World Championships, a bronze at the London 2012 Olympic Games, five gold at the Asian Championships and one gold medal at the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.
At 35 and coming back from a short break on her career, Magnificent Mary is now looking to repeat her 2006 New Delhi World Championships gold medal, but this time in front of her family. “The feeling of walking to the ring and seeing a packed arena cheering my name is just impressive. At the very first moment, I have a second where the idea of losing and disappoint all these people crossed my mind. But it went really quickly, their support has helped me to perform even better.”
“Unfortunately, my two elder kids have travelled today to Spain with the school and will not be able to see me here. But the youngest one was here for the first time today. He doesn’t understand yet boxing, but he always say ‘My mom is a champion’”, says an extremely smiley Mary after defeating Kazakhstan’s Aigerim Kassenayeva in her first appearance at the Indira Ghandi Sport Complex.
In 2001, the USA’s city of Scranton witnessed the first edition of the AIBA Women’s World Championships, and Mary was already there. At only 18 she was able to sail every bout until the Finals where Mary lost against Turkey’s Hulya Sahin. “Women’s boxing has changed a lot in the last 20 years. AIBA has made a strong effort to develop the competition structure helping the athletes to achieve their dream to compete at the Olympic Games. But the work is not done yet, we need more weight categories in the Olympics and we need to keep focusing on the grassroots level to develop new stars. Here in India, the National Federation is doing a great job. The President and the whole staff is really closed to the team and they are helping us in a daily basis.”
It’s safe to say that MC Mary Kom has been and is an inspiration for millions of girls and boys around the World who are willing to step in the ring. But this seems not to be enough for Mary, she is now involved in lots of projects outside of the four ropes as a way to give back to society.
“I owe all what I am to boxing. Thanks to my efforts in the ring I have achieved so many things in life and now I feel that it is time to use my position to help others. I am really honored with the nomination to the Indian Parliament. Being part of such a big and influential institution allows me to help more people and have a real impact in the community. I am not a politician, but I know how to differentiate the good from the bad. One of the really interesting projects we have right now is the fight against cancer. We are working to increase the access to health from the most disadvantaged among us.”
Mary’s smiley face changes completely when she is speaking about her social implication. It is easy to see a light in her eyes and how passionate she is about building a better society. And her work doesn’t stop at the India’s Rajya Sabha Parliament, Mary is also the image of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) in India, working hand-in-hand in several national campaigns to protect the animal rights.
“We need to make the people understand how important the animals are for the planet. It is not just about being with our dogs or cats at home, it is about protecting every single animal. Our future generations deserve to heritage a healthy Earth.”
Mary is now just fighting against history. In case of topping the podium in New Delhi, she will tie the impressive number of six World Championships of Cuban Legend Felix Savon.
“It will be a dream to earn a new gold medal. I can’t really wait for it. It will paid off the efforts made by all the people surrounding me, my coaches, my doctors, my husband and also the fans. I will give my best here in Delhi”.
“The Olympic gold medal is the only one missing in my trophy cabinet. I will try to bring it back from Tokyo, but it will be extremely difficult as my natural weight is not part of the Olympic program. But first I am fully focus in winning my sixth World Championships this week.”