Fear of the coronavirus has given way to a fierce desire to compete in the mind of Indian boxer MC star Mary Kom as she prepares for her first tournament in a year next week, after recovering from muscle loss triggered by a recent episode of dengue fever. The six-time world champion, 37, trained mainly at home in 2020 and joined the Bengaluru national camp for a fortnight last month after recovering from dengue. Next week at the Boxam International Tournament in Spain, she will step into the ring for the first time since being selected for the Tokyo Olympics in the Asian qualifiers in Jordan last year.
“I was afraid (of traveling) and I will always be very careful and worried, but how long can you continue to fear? The cycle has to end at some point, ”she told PTI in an interview as she contemplated the Olympics. year.
“You just have to be sane to avoid the virus and I do my best to be that, wear masks, maintain personal hygiene as always. But being scared, as I have been for a long time, maybe that shouldn’t happen, “she said, referring to her previously stated reluctance to travel abroad for training. in the midst of the pandemic.
The tournament in which she will be seen, along with eight other Indian boxers at Olympic destination, will be held in Castellon from March 1-7. The Indian team should leave this weekend.
“My body feels great. Like everyone else, I also had a tough 2020. Dengue (in December) took its toll. I lost a lot of muscle because of it and my weight had increased significantly. . I was around 57-59 until the end of the month, ”she revealed.
“But all it took was 15 days of regimental training (in the Bengaluru national camp) and now I’m back to my usual weight of 51-52, the muscles are in good shape as well. think i’m ready to go, take a rest you can ask my coaches for who knows i could brag, ”she said, laughing out loud.
Training at the Inspire Institute of Sports in Bengaluru, with which the Indian Boxing Federation is linked, now includes combat, a key aspect that has been banned due to the strict COVID-19 protocol previously in place.
“It was a huge relief. It is done in a group and everyone is tested, so the risk has been largely taken care of,” said the mother of four.
She may no longer be afraid of the virus that put the world in turmoil last year, but the recent decision by the International Olympic Committee to cancel world boxing qualifiers, due to the challenges posed by the pandemic, underlines lingering concerns.
Mary Kom, athlete ambassador for the IOC working group that manages boxing’s qualifying process and the main event for the Games, said it was a decision based on practical issues despite the many disappointments it is. likely to cause.
“We all want things to get back to normal, but at the same time there are also challenges and this decision is the result of that. Even if I had objected, it wouldn’t have made any difference. I can say is that those who qualified in the competitions were lucky. “
Speaking about the Tokyo Olympics in July-August, Mary Kom said she knows the expectations of her and is up for the challenge as well, even though she will face much younger competition.
“You know when I joined the Bengaluru camp I was always the fastest of them all. So whatever happened to all that talk about being faster than me better than me . “
“I know it won’t be easy in Tokyo and it has never been easy for me. So what’s up there? I repeat what I always say when asked about expectations. to the best of my ability, the outcome, however, is not in my hands, ”she said.
“I am in a happy space in my life. I intend to keep it that way.”
And what about after Tokyo?
“Let’s focus on Tokyo first. Once that’s done, we’ll talk about what happens after that,” she signed.
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