2018 Commonwealth Games: Why Mary Kom will not let go
Gold Coast: When she was young, her wrestler father did not want her to fight lest her strikingly good looks got spoilt and now that she is a mother of three, her kids don’t want her to take the blows that make them wince. But Mary Kom cannot resist boxing, which has been her way of life.
“I am 35 years old with three children and they don’t like boxing. But I want motivate all young girls to be fit and train in boxing,” she said.
At the 2018 Commonwealth Games, the draw has been both lean and kind. There have been just eight boxers. Only one win was needed to ensure medal and the opposition way below the kinds she has faced for most part of her well-decorated career. Yet no can deny Mary Kom is a phenom.
Mary Kom has gone past an 18-year-old from Scotland, Meghan Gordon, and a 39-year-old Sri Lankan Anushka Koddithuwakku in successive rounds to reach within a bout of gold. She was as dominant as she would have been in her heyday against such opposition. A gold, when it hopefully comes this weekend, will be accompanied by accolades.
What’s more it may even fuel her dream of going on till 2020 Olympics in Tokyo even if only to erase the painful memories of failing to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Mary Kom wants medals as much as she wants to raise her kids. The 35-year-old missed her twins’ fifth birthday, as she was fighting her first bout at the London Olympics, where she went on to win a bronze. The five-time world champion took a break after London Olympics and then had a third child in 2013. Then she suddenly wanted to come back. Mary Kom left her one-year-old child, her third, at home to go for the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games trials. She failed.
But Mary Kom did not give up. A few months later she was back to battle for a place in the Indian team to 2014 Asian Games in Incheon. She not only won the place, but won a gold medal, too, at the Incheon games.
The intensity she is able to summon even at 35 while preparing for international meets is amazing.
Mary Kom has been there every time women’s boxing is introduced at any games, be it the World Championships (in 2001); the Asian Games (2010) or the Olympics (in 2012). It is widely accepted that she was the face her sport used to get it into the Olympic programme for 2012.
In the past, Mary Kom invariably started with a lesser medal and converted that to a gold soon after. She won silver at the World Championships in 2001 but turned it into gold at the next edition in 2002 and did so four times more till 2010.
She did the same at the Asian Games—won a bronze in 2010 in Guangzhou and turned it into gold in Incheon, Korea in 2014.
But, at the Olympic Games, she started with a bronze in 2012, but failed to make the 2016 Games. Who knows, what she will do in 2020?
With a silver medal assured now, she is all set to become the first-ever sitting member of Indian Parliament to win a medal at any major games—she did win a gold last year at Asian Championships after being nominated as an MP in 2016, but a CWG medal as an MP would be something else.
V. Krishnaswamy tweets at @Swinging_swamy
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