MC Mary Kom has had a busy build-up for the upcoming Women’s Boxing World Championship which will be held in New Delhi on November 15. The five-time world champion has had an intensive training and took part in the Run for Unity event and the unveiling of the logo and anthem for the event at the Indira Gandhi Stadium in Delhi on Wednesday.
At the event, Mary Kom was announced the brand ambassador of the Women’s Boxing World Championship to be held in India after a gap of 12 years. Speaking to News Nation after being appointed brand ambassador, the ace boxer from Manipur said that she was happy with the infrastructure boost that women boxers have received in the past couple of years.
“We have now got facilities on par with the men and we have also achieved some form of gender equality. We have finally got everything and this makes us happy,” Mary Kom said.
The Women’s World Championship is a special tournament for Mary Kom. Ever since 2001, when the event first took place, the 35-year-old has won six medals, five of which were gold. Her tally of five individual gold medals is the joint-most by any athlete, level with Ireland’s Katie Taylor.
Mary Kom pointed out the journey was very difficult at the start but now it is much better due to better infrastructure.
“The journey, at the very beginning, was very different. About five-six years ago, we were suffering in different ways in terms of facilities, travelling-wise and problems related to infrastructure. Today, all the needs are taken care off immediately. No need to worry about support and facilities now. The younger generation are far better off than us as they have little worries,” Mary Kom said.
Pollution may affect foreign players
The national capital is currently facing a severe pollution crisis, with air quality expected to worsen in the coming days. With over 300 boxers from 73 different countries coming for the event in New Delhi on November 15, Mary Kom said the athletes could face an issue.
“Athletes from other countries might face the issue as they don't face that much of pollution,” Mary Kom said.
Olympic Glory important
In addition to the Women’s World Boxing Championship, Mary Kom is the only Indian boxer to win gold medals in both Asian and Commonwealth Games. However, in the 2012 London Olympics, she won bronze that too in dramatic circumstances.
After missing out on qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics, Mary Kom believes that better facilities gives her plenty of optimism but is cautious. “The first step is qualifying. Maybe 48 kg might not be a category in the Olympics. I might have to shift to the 51 kg category. For the coming 2020 Olympics, BFI have provided a foreign coach, strength and conditioning coach, and trainer.
Success will come slowly
"Some of the Indian players are also getting good coaches who have made their career in boxing like Mohammad Ali Qamar and Chhote Lal Yadav. We are trying really hard for Olympic success. It will come slowly,” Mary Kom said.