"Every Woman is Strong" - Mary Kom 

Could you describe your preparations and the skills you had to develop for pursuing boxing?

Since childhood I have loved sports. Every child loves to play. It's a huge thing for me to take up sports, especially boxing. My career starts from boxing. So, it does mean a lot for me. I have achieved everything through boxing.

What is your golden rule for discipline?

My golden rule is complete focus and concentration. Whether it’s during training or in about, I never let my attention waver. I also don’t stress myself out unnecessarily about the outcome of a match during a competition; I have faith in God and my training. While I do admit that my talent is unique and God-gifted, other boxers can also better their performance by working hard at training, preparation, and strategy. I also have great instinct and attitude. You may call it ‘over confidence’, but I always believe that I am going to win a match. I know that I can do it and nothing will make me believe otherwise

How do you maintain your fitness regime in quarantine?

You need to have both mental and physical strength to succeed in this sport. During the pandemic, I not only have to be fit to fight, but also need to have confidence. I don’t rely solely on my coaches or my training schedule. I often go that extra mile to achieve the kind of fitness I want. I also rely heavily on my experience and the knowledge that I have gathered over the years

How has the women’s boxing scene evolved in India since you joined? 

The women’s boxing scene has vastly improved since the time I started out. Earlier, there were only a few coaches, a physiotherapist, and a doctor. Now, there is an army of coaches and plenty of support staff so a sportsperson need not stress over the infrastructure. All you need to do is go out there and play your game; everything else is taken care of. I am also excited about some young talent waiting in the wings. There are a few promising players in my academy itself who have started participating in competitions. The boxing league is also a step in the right direction, because it gives young players the much-needed exposure. 

How do you feel about winning the Padma Vibhushan in 2020?

I feel amazing and incredible. This win is incredible. It’s a huge achievement for me as an Indian, a woman, and a mother of three children

Can you tell us about the infrastructure in India for helping athletes practise boxing in a global Arena?

The Sports Ministry is taking great efforts. We have regular virtual meets for updating our physical and mental health. The infrastructure is in par with the global arena of boxing.

As a woman who has taken up so many roles, which of your roles is the most challenging - that of a boxer, a homemaker, a wife and mother or as a lawmaker in Rajya Sabha?

I think every role is challenging. Being a woman, being a mother, being a sportsperson, being a Member of Parliament - all of these have been difficult. Handling all this all at once is challenging. We as a woman face a lot of difficulties.

 How are you preparing for Tokyo 2021?

I will be competing in the 51 kg category. I am not worried, however, since I have experience in that category as well. I now have to plan, strategise, and double the hard work.

What would like to tell women as a role model?

"Every woman is strong" she stresses. She pleads with women to go ahead and chase their dreams. "Nobody can stop you. At the end people will recognise you for what you have done. I have also done it, you can do it too