'Gold in Rio will be my next goal'

The joy of having fulfilled her dream was very much evident on boxer MC Mary Kom’s face. The stress of attending numerous felicitation functions ever since she set foot in India last Tuesday or the hardships that she has endured through her career was hardly visible.

The five-time world champion basked in the extra spotlight that has been trained on her since her accomplishment in London.

Sharing the dias with badminton ace Saina Nehwal at a press conference here on Wednesday, the Queen of Indian boxing spoke about her London success, her future plans and on women’s boxing being included at the Olympics.

Excerpts:

On winning the bronze medal: I am really happy because winning a medal is all that I’d dreamt of since the day women’s boxing was included at the London Olympics, although it would have been great if I’d won a gold. What brings me great joy is that I’ve made my country proud. There are a lot of people involved in my success. My coaches, my family, my sponsors, the government and the love from all the Indians. It feels nice when people of the country take pride in my success.

On women boxing at the Olympics: At London there were only three categories but I hope at Rio de Janeiro 2016, there will be six categories. After my victory, I am confident the infrastructure will improve over the next four years.

On whether she will go back to her old weight category:  It will be great if Rio has my weight category (pin weight -- 46kg). As you are aware, I had to fight in the 51 kg category at London because there were only three categories. As a result, I was at a bit of a disadvantage because the opponents were taller and had far better reach. In boxing it makes a lot of difference. However, if Rio has 46 kg, then I will continue to compete in that because that’s where all my success has come from.

My main goal over the next four years is to win a gold at Rio because that will be my farewell Olympics. If it is 51 kg, then I will prepare for that accordingly.

On age factor four years from now: Of course, it will be a factor. But I am strong-willed. I feel I can do it. It’s not about age, it’s all in the mind. If my body permits, then I will definitely strive for Rio. I can try qualifying; winning a medal or not is another thing. Although, winning a gold is the next dream.

On planning for Rio: Our performance in London has been better than what it was at Beijing, and it shows the effort all of us have put in to achieve that. However, four years is a really long time in sports and anything can happen. We need to stay focused and work much harder if we want to better the London show. If we do that, we definitely can aim a lot higher at Rio.

On resuming training: I’ve been busy with felicitation functions ever since I landed in India (laughs). Moreover, there are no competitions left this year, so I am going to take some time off.

I’ve been away from my family and kids for a while now and I just want to spend some quality time with them.

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