The fire back in her belly after overcoming the Rio Olympic heartbreak, celebrated Indian woman boxer M C Mary Kom has decided to go back to the light flyweight 48kg division amid speculation that it is among the two categories that the International Boxing Association (AIBA) is pushing for inclusion in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
"I have decided to move back to light flyweight because that is my original weight category. I feel the most comfortable competing in it and I don't have to punish my body to maintain this weight," Mary Kom, the London Olympics bronze-medallist, told PTI.
"I am feeling very positive once again and just wait and watch what I do now," she added.
The 33-year-old mother of three from Manipur, is set to be honoured with the AIBA Legend's Award for her stellar career so far during the world body's 70th anniversary celebrations on December 20.
The award comes as a bright spot in a rather disappointing year during which the multiple-time Asian champion missed out on qualifying for the Rio Games after losing early in the World Championships in May.
There was speculation that she could even call time on her career after she accepted the Rajya Sabha nomination from the government. But the effervescent boxer is raring to come back to the ring now.
"I have got the fire back. I have been training and I feel competitive. I felt bad when I could not make it to the Olympics, it was heartbreak, but I am over it now and back to what I do best in the ring. I think AIBA is going to include light flyweight in the Asian and Commonwealth Games and it could also make it to the Olympics, so I am keeping my fingers crossed," she said.
AIBA President Ching Kuo Wu has already stated that he considers it his responsibility to ensure that women's boxing categories increase from the current three -- 51kg, 60kg and 75 kg -- to five by the 2020 Games.
There is speculation that light flyweight is among the weight categories which would be pushed for inclusion.
Mary Kom's trainer Chhote Lal Yadav, who is now an assistant coach with the national women's team, said the diminutive Manipuri has been training with rigour.
"The power in her punches has increased manifold because of this decision as she no longer has to work hard to increase her weight. Light flyweight is her natural weight and that has improved her strength. She has been training hard and will be a force to reckon with," Yadav, who is here as Services Sports Control Board (SSCB) coach in the ongoing men's National Championships, said.
"In fact, I can say that she is going to strike it big in this category. There are very few girls who match up to her in this division even after these many years," he added.
It is notable that Mary Kom's last world title, in the 2010 Barbados edition, had come in the 48kg category, while four others had been achieved in pinweight (46kg) prior to that.
She had jumped to flyweight 51kg after it was included in the 2012 Olympic Games. She went on to win the bronze medal in the Games. She also won a gold medal in the 2014 Asian Games where women's boxing made its debut.
Image: MC Mary Kom during a training session
Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com