Boxing champ Mary Kom keeps proving doubters wrong
Updated: 2012-03-19 16:56
MUMBAI - Five-times world amateur boxing champion M.C. Mary Kom cracks a smile when she recalls the phone call from her father ordering her back to the village to explain herself.
India's boxer MC Mary Kom punches a bag during a training session at Balewadi Stadium in Pune, about 190 km (118 miles) from Mumbai, March 12, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]
"I never told my parents that I was doing boxing. They only came to know after I became state champion and my name and picture came in the newspaper," she told Reuters in an interview.
"The next day, my father called me up and told me to come back to our village home. He wanted to talk about why I took up boxing. He was worried I would sustain injuries."
Mary Kom was the face of the campaign to get women's boxing into the Olympics and the Indian mother of two will be competing at the world championships in China in May aiming to book her spot at the London Games in the 51kg category.
While Indian hopes are high that Mary Kom will return with the Olympic gold medal, she remembers being greeted with scepticism when she started out on her career in the ring.
"When I started boxing, people laughed at me and said, 'What can women do in boxing?'" she said. "I took it as a challenge. If men can do it why can't women? And I became a world champion before my marriage.
"When I got married, they doubted if I can win again after marriage. I took it as the second challenge and proved myself."
Mary Kom returned to the ring after she started her family and it was not long before the doubters were back on her case.
"Again after I had my kids, people would say, 'Now she has kids, how can she fight?' I won two more world championships and silenced them."