'Just hard work and be honest to what you are doing, that's all'
A six-time world champion and an Olympic bronze-winner, surely M C Mary Kom can be expected to have a "secret mantra for success". But as it turns out, she has none.
The 37-year-old is gearing up for her second Olympics, postponed to 2021 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday, she was speaking on the subject "Making of a Champion" for Sports Authority of India's Facebook live session for athletes, who are mostly confined to their homes or hostel rooms right now amid a national lockdown to contain the pandemic.
"I don't have any mantras for success. Just work hard and be honest to what you are doing, that's all. Ups and downs are always there but you should not lose focus on your dreams," said the trailblazing boxer.
"My boxing journey was not easy. To reach national, international and Olympic level is not easy. But if you have the will, and want to achieve in life, you can," she added.
"My early life was very difficult. Coming from a poor family, it was so difficult. I can't explain the hardships. I don't want to even remember it."
Mary Kom, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP, was recently wrongly accused, in some sections of media, of violating the quarantine protocol after returning from the Asian olympic Qualifiers in Jordan early last month.
She was under no obligation to be in compulsory quarantine at that time and attended a breakfast hosted by President Ram Nath Kovind while being on voluntary isolation, leading to a furore.
The COVID-19 pandemic has become way more severe since then and has caused more than 40,000 deaths globally. In India, the number of cases has crossed 1100 and the death toll has gone past 40.
The veteran sportsperson advised everyone to stay at home to combat the crisis.
"It is not easy for us human beings to stay at home. But that is the best option we have. Staying fit at this time is a good way to fight the virus," she said.
"We should not be selfish and think that 'I am healthy, I won't get it'. We should care for others," she added.
The fierce competitor in her can't wait for the crisis to be over so that she can resume normal training.
"When all this is brought under control, we will get back to training in big way," she said.
"I am trying my level best for an Olympic gold but I am incomplete without your blessings. Pray for me," she added.
SAI has lined up more than 20 such sessions for athletes to help them cope with the lockdown.