"After retiring, I will become a singer," joked MC Mary Kom, the six-time world champion and India's only female boxer with an Olympic medal, on the sidelines of an event in Delhi before speaking to the reporters.
Retirement is one question that athletes hate to address, with themselves as well as to the press. But Mary was pretty comfortable to answer it. She chucked again at the question and then said, "Maybe after the 2020 Olympics, I will retire. My main dream or mission is to give the gold medal to the nation. I will try my best."
The 2020 Olympics is going to be the biggest stage for India's iconic boxer to bid adieu to the sport and she wants to end the journey with a gold medal but before that, she needs to guarantee her ticket to Tokyo. Mary aims to do that at the World Championships scheduled to take place in September in Russia.
She said, "I always try my best to give a medal for India. And then if possible, I aim for gold. I always try for gold. My preparation is starting for Olympics qualification. I will try my best to qualify in the first attempt only. If not, there is another second qualification round."
She added that the uncertainty related to the qualification does not affect her after having fought in the ring for so many years."The uncertainty is not there because we keep doing our training regularly, that is for any competition. I will get to know in World Championships about others, will get more information about the opponents. There is a short time to prepare."
Mary shifted to 51-kg weight category from 48-kg as the latter category is no longer a part of the Olympics. However, switching the category did not really concern the pugilist, who clinched gold in the 51-kg category at the recently-concluded India Open held in Guwahati. Also, Mary won the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics in the same weight category. "This weight category is not new to me. I have fought in this category for many years. I wanted to go for gold in my actual category. Now since the category is not in Olympics, I have changed it," she explained.
Mary concluded with a call for supporters and fans to pray for her. She said, "I am training very hard. You have seen my performance also. The entire nation is supporting me and I need that support. Just pray for me, I will handle the opponent inside the ring."