With the Tokyo Olympics being pushed by a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some athletes who were looking at the Games to be their swansong are left in limbo. But not MC Mary Kom.
At 37, India’s most decorated boxer is as fit as she’s ever been. And the way she went about her business at the Asian Olympic Boxing Qualifiers last month to seal her place at the Tokyo Games, Mary Kom is likely to walk into her final Olympics as one of the favourites.
And if the experienced pugilist is to be believed, that isn’t changing. Even with the Games being postponed to 2021.
“I am going to try and get gold, so I have to give more than a hundred per cent. I have the experience,” she was quoted as saying by the New Indian Express.
“Fitness is very important, and I am working on it. If I’m a hundred per cent, I am not worried about that. I will try my best for the gold.”
The lack of a sparring partner over the nationwide lockdown period, that has stretched across for a month, isn’t a problem either.
“I don’t think it will affect me that much because of my experience,” she said..” I think what I’ve done is enough.”
Santiago Nieva seconds
While Mary Kom barely lacks any confidence in her abilities, the Indian boxing team’s high-performance director, Santiago Nieva says that if there’s someone who has stood true to her words and proved her critics wrong inside the ring, then that’s Mary Kom.
“I've been hearing for the last four years that Mary Kom is getting too old to compete. Each year, she goes and proves everyone wrong. I really don't think this delay will do much to stop her," he told ESPN India.
“In her career, she's overcome so many things that would have ended anyone else's career. She's had two separate pregnancies, the second of which was in her thirties. She's someone who, if you put in a 10-foot-by-10-foot room, will find a way to stay motivated and on track.”
Ever since Mary Kom started her preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, the Indian legend has been in devastating form, notching some quality wins en route her journey so far.
In 2019, Mary Kom became the first boxer to win eight World Championships medals when she managed a bronze at Ulan-Ude, Russia.
The 37-year-old later won a berth for the Tokyo Games with some fine boxing at the Asian Olympic Boxing Qualifiers last month.
Mary Kom was building on her form when the coronavirus pandemic brought her training to a halt, restricting her to the confines of her house.
The Indian, however, is ensuring that she continues to stay in shape despite the restrictions, meanwhile is also enjoying her downtime with her family.