New Delhi [India], March 10 (ANI): The record six-time boxing world champion, Mary Kom, has said that this years' Olympics will be her last appearance in the event, regardless of her desire to carry on or not.
The London 2012 bronze medallist has already qualified for Tokyo and will be travelling to Japan in July this year for her second Summer Games.
"Tokyo will be my last Olympics. Age matters here. I am 38 now, going on 39. Four (three) more years is a long time," Mary Kom told the Olympic Channel.
For participation in Tokyo 2020, the age limit set for boxers was initially 40. With the Games deferred by a year due to COVID-19, it was extended to 41. Having turned 38 this March, Mary Kom will be over the current limit by the time the next Olympics in Paris 2024 rolls around. "Pretty sure, I won't be allowed to even if I am willing to carry on till Paris 2024," she said.
The boxer, who won a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics, said that it means a lot to her to be an Olympian and her career as a boxer would have diminished "if I didn't compete in the Olympics."
"It means a lot for me to be an Olympian. I have been boxing for 20 years. I have participated in many international tournaments. I have been the world champion," she said.
"But I had to wait my turn to take part in the Olympics as women's boxing wasn't in the Games until 2012. Finally, it happened, and I am glad it did. I think the value of my career as a boxer would have diminished if I didn't compete in the Olympics," Mary Kom added.
She said winning a medal at the Olympics is a dream and it changes lives.
"Olympics is huge. For any sportsperson, participating and winning a medal at the Games is a dream. It changes lives. Becoming an Olympian and winning the bronze changed my life too. It also inspired many women to take up sport, especially boxing. I feel proud. I want more girls to come out and fight. I hope there are no restrictions on them to come out and fight for themselves and their country," she said. (ANI)