Bangalore: Sitting in a makeshift boxing ring, she didn’t need gloves to pack a punch.
Her emotions — raw and moving — said it all. The occasion on Wednesday was the launch of her autobiography ‘Unbreakable’. Dressed in white trousers, a black shirt and matching stilettos, a tearyeyed MC Mary Kom sat through it all.
Petite boxing champion, five-time world champion, Olympics bronze medallist, wife and a doting mother of three are suffixes that can be attached to Mary’s name, but the one that describes her best is icon of Indian sport, an example of unmatched dedication, passion and sacrifice.
Having delivered her third child, K. Prince Chungthanglen Kom, seven months ago, Mary looked set to walk off into the sunset. But she’s far from it. The 30-year-old has already returned to training, but does not want to rush into competition.
“I’ve started training again, but there are no competitions anytime soon. Even if there are I’m going to compete only if I feel I’m physically and mentally 100 per cent competition fit. I won’t rush into it,” said Mary.
On the birth of her third child, Mary said, “It’s a different experience after the London Olympics high.
Even after two children, the joy of bring up the youngest one is a new learning experience for me.”
Speaking about the toughest challenges of life, nicely documented in her book, the Padma Bhushan awardee said, “The first challenge was obviously entering a sport where there were no women boxers. There were lots of comments that were passed, but you learn to live with it.
The second challenge was once I got married. Many people thought I couldn’t continue boxing and I again had to prove a point. I have to say my husband was very supportive.
The third challenge was when I had children. Even my father had doubts about me, but I again proved myself and have two world championships after becoming a mother.” While there has been talk about her turning pro, Mary dismissed the notion and said, it could be a post-retirement pastime. “Pro and amateur is very different, let’s see.
I’m not very interested in pro. I may get into pro just to pass time after my retirement.” On the 2016 Rio Olympics, she said, “I could have fetched India a gold medal at the 2012 London Games, but I want to make amends and clinch the gold medal in Rio. I hope my countrymen continue with their unconditional prayers and support for me.”
While her children playfully spar around the house, Mary indicated she won’t push them into the sport and will allow them to follow their dreams. Yet, she’s shaping the dreams of 32 youngsters at an academy in her hometown in Imphal.
“The academy is doing well and we have taken in 32 boxers, thanks to government support. The construction of the academy will hopefully be complete next year and we can train more pugilists. After I finish that I’ll also come down here to set up an academy,” she signed off even as a motley group of north-east Indians settled in the city, lined-up to get their copy of her autobiography signed.
The reason I wanted to pen my life's battles was to inspire and motivate others. Writing this book was more difficult than winning the bronze medal at the Olympics