New Delhi, May 19
It’s a tournament she has dominated for years but the Asian Championship this time is more than just a medal-winning opportunity for boxer MC Mary Kom. The 38-year-old is “desperate for competition” before the Olympics after training in India was thrown haywire by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 51kg specialist has collected a staggering five gold and one silver medals from her seven appearances at the continental showpiece. The six-time world champion can’t wait to land in Dubai for the tournament, which starts on May 24. She wants a “good slugfest” as soon as possible.
“I have been so eager to compete, there has hardly been any training because of the pandemic and I need this desperately to assess myself before the Olympics,” the Manipuri boxer said from Pune, where she has been training for the past few days.
She had to move to Pune, along with a couple of other Olympics-bound women boxers, after the national camp in Delhi was forced to shut down because of a Covid-19 outbreak there.
“It has not been easy. I was at home after coming back from the tournament in Spain (in March). My children were not well, we had to manage that and it comes with its own set of anxieties. Then, the camp in Delhi was called off because of Covid,” she said.
“Something or the other kept affecting the training schedule. So the Asian Championship is important because I get to compete and there is nothing better than a good competition to help preparations,” she added.
The few days of training in the highly-rated Army Sports Institute at Pune have been beneficial. She also got her first shot of the Covid-19 vaccine there. “I feel confident about my body. But as I always say, I will give my best, whether it would be enough to get a medal is something that only time will tell,” said Mary Kom.
Getting vaccinated was important for Mary Kom as she has been vocal about her apprehensions of travelling abroad for training amid the pandemic.
“Look, how quickly the world has changed and we plan and plan and plan. Kuch pata nahi chalta (you never know). It is so important to stay in the present,” said Mary Kom, offering a philosophical take on the present state of worldwide uncertainty.
She won’t have her personal coach Chhote Lal Yadav to guide her in Dubai as he has only recently recovered from Covid-19.
All four women boxers bound for the Tokyo Olympics — Mary Kom, Simranjit Kaur (60kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg) — will be in action in Dubai, along with six others.
Among the Olympics-bound men’s group, defending champion Amit Panghal (52kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg) and Ashish Chaudhary (75kg) will be seen in action along with seven others. Manish Kaushik (63kg) and Satish Kumar (+91kg) will be absent as they are recovering from Covid-19. — PTI