CHENNAI: Form is temporary, class is permanent. This adage sits perfectly on MC Mary Kom. After failing to make the cut for Rio Olympics, many believed that the Manipuri’s inspirational fight inside the ring was losing the fire.
Off-the-ring duties had taken away valuable hours from her training schedule, making it a bigger fight to dismiss those claims. But given that she had beaten many odds in the past, Mary never lost faith in her abilities, attained after years of struggle and pain.
Nothing could stop her. Not those numerous meetings/travels involved with her role as a government-appointed observer for boxing. Neither did her active role as Rajya Sabha MP kill her hunger to be the best inside the ring.
At 35, the mother of three added another feather to her cap on Wednesday, becoming the Asian champion in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. This was her fifth gold medal in the tournament, after 2003 (India), 2005 (Taiwan), 2010 (Kazakhstan) and 2012 (Mongolia).
It was also her first international gold since the 2014 Commonwealth Games, held in Glasgow. “Coming back is not an easy task. A lot of hard work and dedication had gone into this performance,” the 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist said. “I feel very proud that I could make the nation proud once again.”
Mary, who competed in the 48kg category — coming down from 51kg — was too strong for North Korea’s Kim Hyang Mi in the summit clash. Mary prevailed in a unanimous 5-0 verdict to add another accolade to her already crowded cabinet.
Mary’s form might have suffered a dip in recent times but the five-time world champion continues to be a crowd-puller. She was overwhelmed by the unflinching support she got. “I’m thankful to the crowd too, especially those who travelled all the way from India. It really spurred me to do well, seeing them cheer for me throughout the competition.”
With seven medals (one gold, one silver and five bronze), the women have certified that they mean business ahead of next year’s Commonwealth and Asian Games.
“We were impressive but there is still more work required to increase the number of gold medals. Now, we are looking ahead to doing well in the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games next year,” Shiv Singh, the national coach, told Express from Ho Chi Minh City. Mary’s comeback success will definitely inspire more and keep doubters at bay.
Mary Kom (48 kg) | gold
Sonia Lather (57 kg) | silver
Priyanka (60 kg) | bronze
L Sarita Devi (64 kg) | bronze
Lovlina (69 kg) | bronze
Shiksa (54 kg) | bronze
Seema Punia (+81 kg) | bronze