Mary Kom has a collection of medals, including an Olympic bronze at the London Games. Yet at the age of 34, she still wants to push herself. The mother of three had not won a gold since the Incheon Games. On Thursday, she ended her drought with her fifth gold at the Asian Championships. After fighting in the 51 kg category for the past three years, Mary, a Rajya Sabha MP, had shifted to 48 and this was her first international championship in the new weight class.
She scored a 5-0 win over Kim Hyang Hi of North Korea in Ho Ch Minh City, Vietnam. “Coming back and winning a gold medal after many years is not an easy thing because I have lot of responsibilities. But I wanted to make a comeback and make my nation proud once again. The crowd was cheering for me and it certainly brought back memories for me. The most important thing for me was to get back in the ring. And to win in 48 Kg category, which was my weight category for many years previously is a positive thing for me,” Mary said.
Post-London Olympics, Mary gave birth to her third son Prince in July 2013 before making a comeback for the 2014 CWG trials, where she missed out on a spot with a narrow loss against Pinki Jangra in 51 Kg. Mary won the gold medal at Asian Games in Incheon before taking a six month break once again.
Wednesday’s final saw Mary making use of counter punches and blanking Kim in all the rounds. “The Korean boxer Kim was young and Mary made her look helpless. Kim is a southpaw like Mary but the Indian fought smartly to avoid her right and hit punches on the counter. That comes with experience. Though she was participating in her first International tournament this year, she was looking to dominate and fought confidently.
The 48 kg was the weight category where she ruled prior to London and that’s what she showed in today’s final,” said Shiv Singh, Chief Coach, Indian women’s boxing team. Mary’s performance was also watched by 2002 CWG champion Mohammed Ali Qamar and World Military Games silver medallist Chote Lal Yadav, who are in the coaching staff.
Mary has also managed to maintain her fitness levels. “She had six back to back bouts in the trials for Asian
Championships last month. As compared to 51 Kg, speed is more vital in the 48Kg and we laid emphasis on power punches for her during the national camp before the championships. There is lot of young talent coming up in 48 Kg and 51 Kg and to train and compete against them speaks volume of her skill. Tokyo is still three years away but Mary Kom is the Muhammed Ali of Women boxing in the world,” added Singh.