Boxing C’ships: Mary Kom Vying For Maiden 51kg World Title

Seeded third and handed a bye into the pre-quarterfinals, Mary Kom will begin her campaign on 8 October.

Updated
Boxing
3 min read

Video Journalist: Sumit Badola
Video Editor: Prashant Chauhan

The most successful boxer in the history of amateur world championships, India’s Mary Kom will be eyeing a record extending seventh gold in the competition which gets underway in Ulan-Ude in Russia from 3 October.

In her eight world championship appearances till date, Mary has accounted for a whopping six gold medals and a silver. Her most recent conquest was in 2018 in New Delhi.

“The pressure is still there but I can handle it now. After having lot of experience and competing in many internationals, that has really helped me.”
Mary Kom to The Quint

Despite Mary’s enviable record at the world championships, she is yet to win a world title in the 51 kg category. Her best performance in this weight division was the bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics and an Asian Games gold.

Mary switched to 51 kg at the India Open in May. She later went on to win gold in the President’s Cup.

So, when Mary enters the ring in the 51 kg category this time around in the Russian city, she will have a goal in sight for the World Championships, which will also serve as a preparation for the upcoming Tokyo 2020.

“The World Championships is very important. If we don’t get any medal in World Championships, we won’t get a chance to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.”
Mary Kom

After failing to qualify for Rio 2016, Mary is still looking out for that elusive Olympic gold.

“Olympics is one of the biggest games. So, everyone one is dreaming, trying to participate and win a medal at the Olympic Games. It is very important for me also.”
Mary Kom

Seeded third and handed a bye into the pre-quarterfinals, Mary will begin her campaign on 8 October.

Ahead of the World Championships, a controversy broke out regarding Mary’s selection for the World Championships after her competitor in the 51 kg category, Nikhat Zareen, was refused a trial bout. Zareen, in a letter to the Boxing Federation of India (BFI), alleged that she was stopped from competing despite having a scheduled trial bout.

“Controversy is controversy. If they don’t create controversy, they won’t come in the newspaper at all. Their name won’t come up anywhere. Somebody is behind to make the controversy. That is (something) I always know, who is there to play the role and who is the mastermind. Let them do I don’t care.”
Mary Kom

According to Mary, it was the federation and the Sports Ministry who decided to exempt her from the trials, a decision she believes was taken keeping in mind both her glorious past records and her current form.

“I know BFI and the Ministry of Sports, they will decide, whether who will go and whether I will give trial or not. Because they know me and even those in the selection committee have given their statements. I am not a junior boxer or boxer having six, seven or five years of experience. Almost 20 years, I am competing for almost 20 years and still being a champion,” said Mary

Mary had defeated Zareen in the semifinal of the India Open in Guwahati earlier this year.

Apart from her exploits inside the ring, Mary has also been grabbing headlines outside of it.

Recently, in an annual survey conducted by YouGov, the Indian boxing legend Mary Kom topped the 'most admired women' list in India. She beat the likes of Kiren Bedi, Lata Mangeshkar, Sushma Swaraj and Deepika Padukone.

“Well, I feel so happy. Being a mother, making a comeback, achieving so much for your country and maintaining the level is not easy. I think for that only people admire me a lot.”
Mary Kom

Mary Kom had an admiration rating of 10.30 percent, which makes her the only Indian among the top 25 in the world. The list is topped by Michelle Obama, followed by Oprah Winfrey, Angelina Jolie, Queen Elizabeth II, and Emma Watson.

Mary’s name was also recommended for the prestigious Padma Vibhushan award by the sports ministry last month. She is the first female athlete whose name has been put forward by the sports ministry for the country’s second highest civilian honour after the Bharat Ratna.

Mary thanked MoS Kiren Rijiju for her nomination.

“I feel very much happy. This is the second highest award for our country. It is not easy to get also. Everyone don’t get Vibhushan. So, I am grateful and thankful to our Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju,” said Mary.

Mary Kom was honoured with the Padma Bhushan in 2013 and Padma Shri in 2006.

(With inputs from PTI)

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