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the Manipur boxer

I haven't lost to anyone twice in my life: Mary Kom


Just a few more weeks before you step out to create history in London. What are your thoughts?

The Olympics is surely the biggest stage of my life and I am very confident of winning a medal for the nation. I was disappointed at having lost in the quarter finals of the world championships in May but am fully prepared and looking forward to making amends in London. I hadn't fought many European boxers before the world championship and hence needed some time to figure out their strategy and technique. Now I have studied their style and am confident of avenging my world championship loss. All going well, I will surely win a medal at London 2012.

Tell us a bit about the final few weeks of training?

I resumed training from June 25 and trained for a while at Bhalewadi before I leave for Liverpool on July 25. I'll train for one week in Liverpool before I reach the Games Village on August 2. I am training with three sparring partners who have been carefully selected by my advisors and support team at Olympic Gold Quest, keeping in mind the nature of opposition expected in London. One of them is taller than me while one is a southpaw and this sort of specialized training will surely help me to be in the best shape before the competition. I am grateful to my coach Charles Atkinson and my supporters at OGQ for doing this for me.

What have you been doing since coming back from the world championship? Was it good to be home for a while before getting back to the final stretch?

Absolutely. I was looking forward to spending some time with family before I resume training. At home, I am a mother and a housewife. While I run and train for two hours in the morning, I love to make breakfast for my sons, Renca and Nai Nai. I do all the household chores or cleaning and cooking and love every moment of it. My husband has been a pillar of support since our marriage in 2005 and he has made the journey much easier. Spending time at home has helped me recharge and I am now looking forward to getting back to training.

Besides Ren CanCan and Niccola Adams, your world championship nemeses, what's the competition at London?

Ren CanCan won the world championship but as you know, I have beaten her at the Asian Championship. I am not scared of anyone and am confident of beating Niccola the next time I face her. The Olympics are easier than the world championships and if I get a good draw, there is no reason why I can't go the distance in London. I have watched the videos of all the top European boxers and am confident of being able to deal with all of them.

You have this amazing record of never losing to one boxer twice. Going by that both Ren CanCan and Niccola shouldn't beat you again!

(Laughs) You are right. I haven't lost to anyone twice in my life and hope to keep the record intact in London. The good thing is unlike in the world championship, I know what to expect from my opponents in London and that makes a real difference. It is difficult to fight with taller opponents but I have my plans in place and will do my best to execute them at Olympic stage. I am aware of the expectations and will do all in my capacity to make the country proud.

It is never easy to change weight categories. And you have risen from the 46 kg category to the 51 kg category. This itself makes the competition much tougher, doesn't it?

I had to do it because 46 kg isn't an Olympic category. The transition, however, was gradual and carefully planned and executed by my advisors at OGQ. At the 2010 world championship, I fought in the 48 kg category and won gold. And then I went one further step up to the 51 kg category. I am accustomed to this weight category now and have one singular focus in the next few weeks - to be in best shape for the Olympics. Rest is in God's hands.

Everyone in the country expects a medal from Mary Kom. As the first and only Indian woman boxer at the Games, how difficult is it for you to carry this weight of expectations?

I don't look at it that way. I look at it as an inspiration. That my country is banking on me can also be the best feeling for any sportsperson. I am very keen to repay my supporters and feel I owe it to them for all the support. I'd much rather have my people support me than the other way round. When I step out to play, I am not concerned about pressure or any such thing. All I am concerned about are the four rounds and giving my best. I know my best is good enough for a medal and it is time I achieve my goal. Winning a medal at the Olympics will be the biggest moment of my career and will inspire many Indian women to take up boxing. That's the best feeling for a sportsperson. Do please continue to wish me the best in the next few weeks. All of this support will add up and help me in London.

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