Mary Kom wants foreign coach for women boxers
Having done the country proud with her bronze medal-winning feat at the London Olympics, M C Mary Kom declared that training under foreign coaches will be beneficial to the country's women boxers.
"Of course, there is a 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 told reporters at a promotional event in Mumbai on Wednesday.
Mary wanted to be trained by a foreign coach prior to the Olympic qualifying rounds, but her demand wasn't met by the Sports Ministry.
The men, on the other hand, have Cuban Blaz I Fernandez -- the first foreign coach to be recommended for the prestigious Dronacharya award -- to train them.
Fernandez has been with the country's male boxers for over a decade during which the ring sport has made a significant leap, including the pioneering bronze won by Vijender Singh in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
'I will try my best to change the colour of my medal'
Looking ahead, Mary said she is eager to take part in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where she would try to bag another medal. She is confident that it would be a gold medal if her pet 46-48 weight category is introduced by the world body AIBA at the Brazil Games.
"If there is 46kg or 48kg category, I am sure I will come back with a gold from the 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 category," the 29-year-old mother of two said.
The Manipur-born boxer has won five World championship titles competing in the 46-48kg weight category. She was forced to shift to the higher weight category two years ago after the AIBA decided to field women boxers at the Olympics in three weight categories, the lowest one being 51kg.
"I didn't feel the 51kg category was very tough. Actually, my weakness is I have only two years of experience in this category. If I had played from the beginning in 51kg, then I would have gained a lot more experience. This is the main problem," she explained.
'I always did dishoom-dishoom'
'Magnificent Mary', who idolises Muhammad Ali, said she was happy with the performance of Indian participants in the London Games, though she rued the absence of the 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."
Asked how she took up the sport, Mary revealed that she has always been an action movie buff, and used to practice the stunts after the movie.
"From my childhood days, I was interested in sports, especially martial arts. I always did 'dishoom-dishoom'. I always watched action movies and after the movie ended, I used to act the moves," she said.
Photographs: Harish Kotain/Rediff.com
'I can't see the kids playing in Mumbai'
Mary said she gets so engrossed in practising her moves at times, that she forgets where she is at that moment.
"Sometimes, by habit, I practice the moves on a road or in a market. I forget that I am in a market or a movie theatre," she said.
For Mary it was tough to be away from her children in order to realise her dreams.
"I really missed my kids. I left (them) for a year (to practice for the London Games) and they were missing me and needed me a lot. I couldn't be there because my business is different. I had to achieve something for the country. I used to speak to them over phone," she said.
The star boxer, who was in the city to promote the Procter and Gamble initiative to have more playgrounds, said her career started from the playgrounds.
"I can't see the kids playing in Mumbai. We have a lot of space in the northeastern side and we play and have lots of fun," said added.