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‘Will win a medal in 2016 too’

Mary Kom

Mumbai: After making the country proud with her bronze medal-winning feat at the London Olympics, MC Mary Kom on Wednesday said that training under foreign coaches will be beneficial for women boxers of the country.

“Of course there is need for foreign coaches. I have practised with Indian coaches for so many years and after the Olympics, we need to learn something from a foreign coach as well,” she said at a promotional event here.

Mary wanted to be trained by a foreign coach prior to the Olympic qualifying rounds, a demand that wasn’t met by the sports ministry. The men, on the other hand, have Cuban B I Fernandez to train them.

Fernandez has been with the country’s male boxers for over a decade during which the sport has taken a significant leap forward, including the bronze won by Vijender Singh in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Looking ahead, Mary said she is eager to take part in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She is confident that she would win a gold if her pet 46-48 weight category is introduced by the world body AIBA in the Brazil Games.

“If there is a 46 kg or a 48 kg, I am sure I will come back with a gold from the Rio Olympics. But let us see, if there is no 46-48 category, then I will try my best to change the colour of my medal in the same (51 kg) weight,” the 29-year-old mother of two said.

The Manipur-born boxer has won five world championship titles by competing in the 46-48 kg weight category. She was forced to shift to the higher weight category two years ago after AIBA decided to field women boxers at the Olympics in three weight categories, the lowest one being 51 kg.

“I didn’t feel the 51kg category was very tough. Actually my weakness is I have only 2 years of experience in this category. If I had played from the beginning in 51 kg, then I would have gained a lot more experience. This was the main problem,” she explained.

‘Magnificent Mary’, who idolises Muhammad Ali, said she was happy with the performance of Indian participants in London though she rued the absence of a yellow metal.

“This time we got six medals and last time we had three. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a gold, but we have doubled the tally,” she said.

On the biopic being made on her life and career she said, “I am happy that a movie is being made. The youngsters will get inspired to play sports. There are many examples. Saina Nehwal won a bronze in badminton. It will encourage kids to play badminton. Boxing is not just a game, it is good for self defence.” (PTI)