Magnificent Mary gunning for Oly gold

After winning her fifth world title, Manipuri wants to shine in London before retiring

Magnificent Mary gunning for Oly gold

The 27-year-old mother-of-two from Manipur brushed aside the rising international competition in women’s boxing to clinch a fifth gold medal at the World Championships on Saturday night by crushing old foe Steluta Duta of Romania 16-6 in the light flyweight 48kg finals.

Dubbed ‘Magnificent Mary’ by the International Boxing Association for her historic feat, the diminutive counter-puncher is the only woman boxer to have clinched a medal in each of the six World Championships, starting with a silver in the inaugural edition in 2001.

“I am overwhelmed and don’t even know how to describe what it feels like. I am just so happy to have done it,”  the former Khel Ratna awardee told PTI in an interview after the unprecedented feat.

Balancing a demanding training schedule with the responsibility of being the mother of two young children is not easy but with women’s boxing finding a place in the 2012 Olympics, Mary Kom said she has a reason to continue doing the tough twin jobs.

“It’s very demanding and emotionally draining to leave my sons behind for competing and training. But I have somehow managed to do it so far and hopefully I will continue doing it till at least the London Olympics. I want to win an Olympic medal, don’t want to go before doing that,” she said.

“I know age would be a factor but if I continue to train hard and remain fit, I think, I would be able to compete and win a medal,” she added. Women’s boxing would make its debut at the London Olympics in three weight categories -- flyweight (48-51kg), lightweight (56-60kg) and middleweight (69-75kg).

Mary Kom will have to bulk up substantially for the flyweight division but she is confident of coming through. “Putting on weight and adjusting to is always tough but since I would be giving trials for the Asian Games, I think I will have enough to time to adjust,” she said.

Talking about her bout, Mary Kom said she could feel the pressure of expectations but was never nervous against Duta, whom she had beaten in the World Championship finals of 2006 and 2008 as well.

“There was pressure on me but it didn’t unsettle me. I was not nervous. I just kept telling myself that I had to win. I kept my cool, observed in the first two rounds and then attacked in the third and fourth,” Mary Kom said.

“Although her punches seemed more powerful then last time, I knew her game way too well. I just didn’t lose focus. In the end it was not very tough because I knew her technique,” she added.

“I think the first World Championship gold that I won in 2002 was the toughest. This one was easy. I was actually having a good time here,” she chuckled.

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