The only woman boxer, a six time world champion, Mary Kom was at Goafest 2019 on Saturday. The inspiring woman, who says that she still has an unfinished task, enlightened the audience on her story of struggle to fame. NT BUZZ brings you the details
VENITA GOMES | NT BUZZ
At 36, with six world titles and a bronze at the 2012 Olympics, Mary Kom has climbed her way up, fighting every obstacle and going all out in the boxing ring. Her determination and passion is worth commending. She might be giving the Asian Championship a miss next week to be held in Thailand, but her presence at the knowledge seminar on the concluding day of Goafest with sports journalist Boria Majumdar brought out several lesser known stories and secrets of this champion woman.
Phases of struggle
Known popularly as Mary Kom, which is much easier to pronounce than the actual Chungneijang Mary Kom Hmangte, this boxer whose smile is infectious and whose stance can scare you revealed several details, including her periods of struggle to reach the top. “For a girl, it is not at all easy. There are a lot of gender issues,” she admitted, adding that men think women cannot do anything
“and that is something that I want to change”.
She went on to say that it wasn’t an easy route for her, especially when boxing in India wasn’t established in 2000. “There were no national tournaments. Also, when I was young my family never supported me,” she said.
The meaning of success
Explaining what it means to be successful, Mary put forth a strong point and said that being a champion once is easy, and many can do it, “but the challenge lies in being constant and repetitive in terms of your performance. Once you win, expectations rise, there is a demand to perform well all the time and that is what is difficult.”
The balancing act
A mother of three young boys, Mary, like every other woman is a great multi-tasker, and this too comes at a cost and means a lot of sacrifices. She shared an instance with the audience of how once she had to choose between her career and her family.
“I had a championship and at the same time my son was sick back home. But I wasn’t aware of it. There were three continuous nights that I kept getting dreams about him. It was only when the condition worsened thatmy husband mentioned that my son had to go through a surgery because he had a hole in the heart,” said Mary which brought back a scene from the biopic.
However, Mary who had qualified for the tournament didn’t think twice before choosing her family over boxing that time. “Though my husband said that he was with our son and asked me to focus on the championship, I thought being with my son was more important to me at that point of time,” Mary said.
Bettering her performance
Serving as MP, Rajya Sabha, being awarded the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan, and her many international titles and medals all speak volumes of her dedication to boxing and her unmatched performance. However, at 36, she isn’t satisfied. She is hungry for more…just one more medal.
“I really want to bring home a gold medal for the country from the Olympics. That is what I badly want,”
On being asked about her toughest competitor, she didn’t hesitate to say that Nicola Adams of the UK is a boxer who can match up to her.
“She defeated me in 2010, and I defeated her in 2011. Though she is good, I am good too. I will work hard until I defeat her; though it may take several attempts and that is what I think works. Try and try all the time,” she said.
Focus is the key
The star who trains hard at IG Stadium in New Delhi, in the elite women’s national camp also shared with the audience the importance of being focused on a task. “There are times between the championships when people want to click selfies, and I tell them to wait till the tournament ends. I don’t want to get distracted and want to be more focused on my task,” she said.
Boxing then and now
Having moved from athletics to boxing in 2000, the Manipuri who has seen the sport evolve in India says that the changes in the sport are negligible. “It is still the same. I am the same, and so is boxing. However, in the last seven years what has changed is that there are more facilities, but, we don’t have champions. We only have one or two champions reigning for so many years, there aren’t any new champions,” she expressed. “I am not blaming anyone. But I believe that youngsters need to take the initiative and learn and come forward.”
Being a good human being
Mary who supports several causes including PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) also believes that respect and humanitarian values maketh a good human being. On being asked about that one quality that she would want to see in her children, Mary’s response was: ‘Respect humanity’. Going on to explain the same she said: “They should respect people. This is very important in today’s world and I don’t see it much.”
Yet to explore Goa
Mary also expressed her happiness over being in Goa, and said that despite being here on two other occasions, she hadn’t found the time to explore Goa. “I want to explore Goa. I know it is beautiful and that is what I want to see. I will take a proper holiday just to experience the same,” she said.
Besides her boxing accolades, not many know of Mary’s talent in singing and her love for music. But the star also mesmerised the audience on Saturday with her singing talent. She sang to 4 Non Blonde’s Whats Up with the same energy and passion she lives her life everyday.