NEW DELHI: She is 34 years of age, a five-time boxing world champion, the first Indian boxer to win an Olympic medal and now a Rajya Sabha MP as well but you just can't keep MC Mary Kom away from the boxing ring. One of the legends of her sport, 'Magnificent Mary' is back in her 48kg weight category and ready to compete in the Asian Championships in Vietnam for the sixth time in her career.
Mary had to go through a gruelling trial to ensure her berth in the Asian Championships, taking place in Ho Chi Minh City from November 2 to 11 and now she is confident of bring back her fifth gold from the event (after winning in 2003, 2005, 2010 and 2012). "Qualifying was very tough, competing in six back-to-back bouts. The girls in my weight category were quiet young though with Sarjubala Devi being the most experienced among them. When I went to the trials I knew that if I was competing at my best, these girls can't beat me, that much confidence I have in myself," Mary Kom told TOI on Sunday before leaving for Ho Chi Minh City.
After failing to secure a wildcard to compete in the Rio Olympics, Mary Kom has been training hard to secure a spot in the 2018 Commonwealth Games squad and looking ahead to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics as well. "Getting back to training was not hard work. I had not been fighting for the last few years but found it quite easy to get back into groove. I decided to go up in my weight category to 51kg because the last Asian Games didn't have the 48kg category. So returning to the 48kg class was a conscious decision keeping in mind the Asian Championships this year and 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, next year," the 34-year-old mother of three said.
Talking about her training regime these days, Mary said, "Right now I am training about four hours every day with sparring sessions couple of times a day. It also includes muscle strengthening sessions. Chief coach Gurbax Singh Sandhu has also provided good insights into my game."
Mary is quite upbeat about winning a medal for the country in her first international appearance in many years. "I am feeling very confident right now. I am 100 per cent fit and I am praying that there shouldn't be any injury during the competition there. I'll try to give at best in every bout and my first aim will be to bring back a gold for India," she said after a grueling national camp at the IG stadium in New Delhi.