Name: MC Mary Kom
Category: 45-48 kg
Past CWG performance: Debut
Best performance: Bronze at 2012 London Olympics; five-time world champion
An Olympic bronze. Five world titles. Five-time Asian champion. Two medals in Asian Games. But if there is any laurel that has eluded MC Mary Kom's impressive medal cabinet it is the one earned in the Commonwealth Games.
However, it must also be noted that women’s boxing was included at the Games for the first time in the 2014 edition, for which Mary did not qualify.
Many believed the clock was ticking rather quickly on Mary's career after she didn't qualify for the Rio Olympics in 2016, but rising against odds is an integral part of each chromosome of 'Magnificent Mary's' DNA.
Viren Rasquinha, the CEO of Olympic Gold Quest, that once sponsored her and now supports young athletes from her academy, told ESPN: "If there's one thing you have learned about Mary Kom over the years, it is that you can't count her out. You don't want to tell her she can't do something."
A testament to Mary's indomitable spirit was her scintillating return to international boxing in Vietnam in 2017, when she claimed her sixth medal (five golds and one silver), at the Asian Boxing Championships. She had made a comeback to the sport after over a year and won her first international gold medal since the 2014 Asian Games. The Asian Boxing Championships gold was her first medal in the flyweight category.
Side-by-side with her distinguished achievements in the boxing ring, Mary has donned a variety of other roles too.
She was nominated to become a Rajya Sabha MP in 2016. Mary was appointed as an observer for the sport by the government and was a member of an athletes' commission. In Imphal, she has her own boxing academy and mothers three young children too.
At 35, the accomplished pugilist will be making her Commonwealth Games debut at Gold Coast, Australia, and there isn't a shadow of doubt on what her target would be.
“I will give my best to win a gold," she was quoted by The Hindu.
“I am not sure, but I should have around eight boxers in my weight category. I will be required to win a maximum of three bouts (for the gold),” she added.
During the London Olympics in 2012, Mary had to take part in the 51-kg weight category, the lowest of the three categories that were included in the Games. Despite the 48-kg category being her preferred choice she made the adjustment to compete. She ended up with a bronze.
The Manipur boxer's immediate aim is to win a CWG gold, which will be a stepping stone to her ultimate aim of achieving success at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The best news for Mary about the upcoming games is that she will be competing in her preferred weight category of 45-48 kg.
While addressing the media after her win last year, Mary said that if she was fit enough, she would be unbeatable. She was not being arrogant here. It was rather a very candid assessment by a mother who has gone through two C-sections, resumed boxing and won medals!
However, Mary does remind the world (only occasionally) that she is all flesh and blood.
"Sometimes, I feel a lot of pressure regarding what if my performance goes down? How will I handle it? If I do not get a medal for the country, what will people think about me? I get stressed at times, thinking all this," the legendary pugilist told ANI.
Muhammad Ali once said, "If your dreams don't scare you they aren't big enough."
As a 20-year-old, she rocked the boxing world by winning gold at the Women's World Amateur Boxing Championships in Antlaya in 2002. Over a decade-and-a-half later, she is still the best. She will be 37 when the 2020 Olympics will be upon her. Mary's dreams are surely big enough, but if there is anybody who can fulfil these astronomical targets, it's her and only her.
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Updated Date: Mar 30, 2018 18:05:20 IST