Hope of another Olympic medal may or may not be riding the wave of renewed love for MC Mary Kom after her sixth world title. At the very least, for the moment, India can celebrate that a Member of Parliament can trade in real punches and become champion of the world. That this player’s appetite for the world crown was insatiable after she had won every medal there was to win, received civilian honours from the state, had a movie made on her and been nominated to the Upper House of Parliament, is testimony to what sporting motivation should aspire to. She was never supposed to win an Olympic medal in 51 kg, given the limitations of her diminutive frame and inability to pile on muscle-weight. But Mary went on to do precisely that after stepping up from 48 kg at London in 2012.
Players like Roger Federer have pushed the limits of age and endurance in tennis and perhaps the greatest leaps in sports science have come in recovery techniques. Having settled upon her goal and with her inexhaustible experience tactically, Mary Kom can be trusted to put the best of available resources to good use in chasing the target in Tokyo. Mary’s drive to stack up higher goals is an inspiration on the Indian sportscape, where landing a comfortable job or hefty sponsorships can decelerate your ambition visibly.
Increasingly, be it Saina Nehwal or Mithali Raj or Dipa Karmakar, Indian sportswomen are unwilling to let go once they find a toehold into success. They are making years of dedication and discipline count, to push themselves further and not sit content with being torchbearers. Like Mary, for them, after one dream comes true, the next one seems within punching distance, seems less impossible.