Back from World C'ship, Mary gets set for Asian Games trials

The Manipuri, however, is unfazed by the challenge and said that she can pull it off riding on sheer willpower and experience.

Mary Kom (48kg), who returned today after clinching a historic fifth World Championship title in Barbados, originally competed in the 46kg category. She went up a couple of kilograms ahead of this year's World Championships and is all set to bulk up more to fight in the 51kg, one of the three weight categories to have got the International Olympic Committee's nod for the Olympics and Asian Games.

Back after a gruelling journey, Mary Kom will tomorrow head to the ring once again for the second phase of trials. The initial trials before the World Championships were deemed "inconclusive" by the Indian Boxing Federation. "I don't have any problem in putting on weight. I have 10 years of experience in international boxing. I'm a mentally strong boxer and have the willpower to continue competing," the 27-year-old mother-of-two from Manipur told reporters here.

The IBF was willing to delay the trials by a week to give Mary Kom a break after the World Championships but the boxer wanted to have it over and done with as quickly as possible.

"We told her that she can take a break because she fought five rounds in the World Championships and then endured a very long journey but she would have none of it. Even after her final bout in Barbados, she trained for two hours. She is truly a very resolute athlete," said IBF Secretary General Col P K Muralidharan Raja.

"Yes, we had trials in Bhopal but they were inconclusive and therefore it was necessary to have another round. I'm sure Mary Kom would do well," he added.

Asian Games are scheduled from November 15 in Guangzhou, China next month and Mary Kom's main challenger in her division will be statemate L Sarita Devi, a former World Championship silver-medallist, but who lost in the second round of the just-concluded edition.

"I don't think I would have a problem. I am just coming off a big tournament and would be in good form," Sarita said. Mary Kom is one of the six brand ambassadors for the controversy-marred Commonwealth Games but the only one who would not be seen in action at the event.

Expressing her disappointment, Mary Kom said, "I'm hurt that women's boxing has not been included in the Commonwealth Games. It was saddening but these things are not in my hands."

Col Raja said all efforts were made to get women's boxing included in the CWG roster but it ultimately missed the bus due to lack of support in the Commonwealth Games Federation board. "We spoke to (CGF chief) Mike Fennell but were told that the Board didn't accept it," he said.

For all the accolades she has won in the ring, Mary Kom is not too keen to see her twin sons follow in her footsteps and would prefer seeing them wielding a tennis racquet.
"I don't want my kids to go through what I have gone through to make it this far. I don't want them to get hurt and do all the hard work that I have done," she said. "I would want them to be tennis players instead," she laughed.

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