(MAR 10) India’s five times
World champion and Olympic Bronze medallist Mary Kom spent
International Women’s Day in Europe visiting the Olympic Museum
in Lausanne, Switzerland at the invitation of the International
As a bronze medallist at the
Olympic Games London 2012 and the third Indian woman to win an
individual medal at the Games, Kom has made a name for herself
both inside and outside the ring as a fantastic athlete and an
inspiration to countless girls and women in her country.
There followed, a Q and A session led by the I.O.C. Here is
‘Magnificent Mary’s’ response to the questions posed:
How and when did you get involved in boxing?
Since childhood, I have always had an interest in sports, where
I did well at school, and was also particularly interested in in
martial arts. Seeing my performances, my teacher suggested I get
into sports. I began with athletics but was then introduced to
women’s boxing. Inspired by the success of Dingko Singh at the
1998 Asian Games, I decided to take up the sport in 2000.
What are people’s reactions when you say you are a boxer?
It was a different story when I first started boxing. People
were kind of shocked to learn I was boxing, as, those days, it
was considered only a man’s game. I still remember how my own
community would look at me. I was considered such an odd person.
Even my own father was against this decision of mine. It took me
days to convince him. But it is different now...
What advice would you give to girls or women interested in
Girls, if you know you are gifted in boxing or if you really
like it, just grab it with both hands and go for it. Boxing is
not just a game, but has now become a good career that you could
have. Besides contributing to being fit and healthy, it can earn
you wealth, happiness, and recognition, and create new
opportunities. But it does involve hard work, determination and
faith. It is challenging as the competition is really tough
these days, but not different for any other field.
Women’s boxing made its debut at the Olympic Games London 2012.
What are your hopes for the future of women’s boxing, as well as
your personal objectives?
Women’s boxing is growing at a good pace. It has attracted many
people and is being looked up to and appreciated. I would say it
has got a very good future. It’s just the beginning, and it’s
already shown some outstanding results.
As for myself, I am mentally prepared for Rio 2016. After a
bronze at London, I am determined to change the colour of my
medal. I will be at my best, and the rest is in the hands of
When you retire from the ring, would you like to continue
working in the field of sport?
Yes. I love boxing because it has given me almost everything. It
changed me and my life. I know I’m going to miss it once I
retire, so I want to commit myself fully to training and
producing the next generation of champions and inspirational
role models. This mission is already underway. I have my own
boxing academy in Imphal, which I started in 2006. Once I
retire, I am going to devote myself full time to training my
students, sharing with them my skills and experiences in boxing.
We close with two other brief quotes from Mary from the day’s
"Girls, if you know you're gifted in boxing or if you really
like it, just go for it"
"Women should be allowed to have dreams and be able to be anyone
they want to be"
India and the AIBA can be rightly proud of Mary Kom, a great
ambassador for all ‘Women in Sport’ and for boxing worldwide.
Now let us hope that the Indian National & Regional Governments
put in place some laws that will ensure that the rights of
Indian women are fully respected.