Legendary boxer Mary Kom, the only woman to clinch six world championship titles, is now eyeing the elusive Olympic gold medal next year as her crowning glory.
The 35-year-old pugilist from Manipur said winning gold at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be a big challenge.
“Muhammad Ali was my inspiration when I learned boxing. After all these years, I feel there’s nothing much to achieve. I already (have) all the medals in the game.
“I have medals from the Olympics, Asian Games, six World titles, Commonwealth Games. But I am still hungry to achieve only one (medal), that is the gold at the Olympics,” said Mary Kom here Thursday.
“Being an athlete, I am dreaming (hoping) for that one chance,” added “Magnificent Mary”, who is the event ambassador of the January 20 Tata Mumbai Marathon.
But the star boxer admits that the 2020 Olympics, to be held in Tokyo, will be a big challenge.
“It is a very big challenge. Even London 2012 was also a big challenge for me. It was the first time I fought in the 51kg category. After that, I missed the qualification for Rio (Olympics).
“This time I am trying (to qualify). If there is possibility, I will get young boys (who are) stronger than me (for training).
“Seniors – I don’t think they will come to train with me as they have their own training camps going on,” explained Mary Kom, a recipient of several prestigious awards.
Mary Kom said she wasn’t surprised that she was the number one boxer.
“I am not surprised that I am ranked No. 1. I am so happy that my performances have been recognised. I am grateful for the love and support that I have received from the entire country. Your prayers have helped me win a lot of medals,” she added.
Meanwhile, asked about the issues the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had with the International Boxing Association (AIBA), Mary Kom said she was not sure about its status.
“I am not sure what the status is. It’s up to IOC and AIBA. I can’t do much. I am not worried about myself but (am worried) for the youngsters.
“They have trained for many years and it will be upsetting if they dont get a chance to win medals for their country.
“For me, I have already won a medal at the Olympics (bronze in London), but think of the youngsters. Whatever I can do, I will do to promote boxing,” she signed off.