Heading into what will be her last Olympics, the boxing great is determined to go the distance at the Tokyo Olympics.
In a career spanning two decades, boxing legend MC Mary Kom has achieved all there is about to achieve in the boxing ring.
She is a six-time world champion, holds the record for the most number of medals at the world championships, a mother to her four children, a member of the Indian parliament and an Olympic medallist.
So what drives her still to compete at the highest level? The answer is a simple one: India is what motivates her.
“I know that people from my country expect a lot from me when I enter the ring. It is something that I am proud of.
“But what if I am not able to live up to their expectations? These thoughts drive me on,” said the 37-year-old sharing her journey on The Medal of Glory, a web series hosted by Sony Sports, the official broadcaster of the Olympics in India.
“At times I am not able to sleep because I keep thinking about these things. I know this has not happened due to my efforts alone. The wishes and the prayers of the country have helped me perform well at the top level.”
Over the years, Mary Kom has banked on her single-mindedness and stubborn attitude to push herself to greater heights.
Be it her maiden world title in 2002 or the titles that she won after giving birth to her kids, there’s barely anything that the boxing great hasn’t achieved that she’s set out to. And it’s this mentality that she wants the generation after to adopt as well.
“I have been a world champion multiple times. To be a champion once is still easier... to win one medal at the international level may still be easier compared to winning a medal again and again or becoming a champion repeatedly. That is very difficult,” the 37-year old explained.
“Don't misunderstand me... I want the other athletes to be inspired by me and take it as a challenge. I want them to think, 'if Mary Kom can do it, then why can't I do it?' I want the guys to have this mentality.”
A gold medal at the Tokyo Games might be her eventual target, but for now, the Manipuri pugilist is making the most of the self-isolation period to spend time with her kids.
Be it dancing with them to some peppy number or be it busting myths about her biopic, the Indian boxer has her hands full.
“They (children) ask me... if all those things (shown in the biopic) happened... If that’s true... Were we born under those circumstances? They had so many questions, she said before letting out a laugh. “Since they ask, I think it was important and I told them the real story.”
“In the movie, it is shown that one of my twins has a heart problem too. But that’s just the movie. God has been so kind and loving, he has given me so much. Despite the difficulties, there have been no mishaps. I feel blessed.”