“When her opponent attacked her, Madam Mary should have quickly moved back more often to avoid punches from Nicola Adams.”
That is what the 12-year-old Didyapati, who trains at Mary Kom’s boxing academy, thinks about the boxer’s loss at the Olympics.
Maybe that piece of advice is enough to prove that Mary Kom’s academy is throwing up some boxing prodigies who may be able to take her place in the next few years. Every young boxer we spoke to at her academy, had a different observation to make about Mary Kom’s semifinal loss.
The 19-year-old Neng Nei Hat, who is already a national champion (in the 48kg category), and the brightest talent from the academy, says: “Compared to Nicola, Madam Mary was short. So, she could have got closer so that her punches would have connected.”
Digen, who is also one of the residential trainees at the academy, summed it up in very few words: “She let her guard down too often,” said the 18-year-old.
Mary Kom, is normally a very calm character until she starts pounding her opponents. But it must be interesting to know what sort of person she is amid a group of boxers raring to have a go at the sandbags.
“If we get what she is teaching, then she’s pretty cool. But if we fail after many tries, then she’s not,” says Neng Nei with a curbed giggle which almost escapes her.
Little Didyapati also admits that Mary the person is great, but Mary the trainer could get a bit scary: “Only when she scolds me while she teaches, I feel a bit scared.” And what if they impress her? “She seems happy and just smiles.”
And it is that very smile that has adorned newspapers and websites in these past few days.
Now that Mary has achieved success in the form of an Olympic bronze medal, Digen believes it will help the students too: “We expect a lot after her success. Apart from better infrastructure, we also believe there will be increased opportunity for us.” In the video above, Ajay Maken confirms that he will help Mary Kom’s academy.
We also asked Digen how his experience of learning from a lady boxer was, and he said, “She is my teacher, coach and now an Olympics champion. She is teaching me something good and there is no different feeling while learning from a female boxer.”
Mary Kom is scheduled to return from London on either August 13th or 14th and we wondered what she told the kids before leaving.
Young Didyapati remembers every word: “She told us to stay nicely and concentrate on boxing.”
Ah Mary Kom, the consummate professional.
We also have a short clip of messages from her students to Mary Kom in Manipuri. Do have a listen.