Tue, 08 May 2012 16:53:51 GMT

Olympic medal will set me free: Mary Kom

New Delhi: As she embarks on her endeavour to book an Olympic berth, India's five-time world champion female boxer M.C. Mary Kom Tuesday said a podium finish in the 2012 London Games would be the apt way to ring down the curtain on her illustrious career.

Olympic medal will set me free: Mary Kom

"I am at my best right now and Olympic is my biggest dream. If I win a medal there, it will set me free as far as my future is concerned. I might continue or might decide to go," Mary Kom told reporters after a practice session at the Karnail Singh Stadium ahead of the 10-member team's departure for the World Championship in Qinhuangdao, China starting May 9. The World Championship is the only qualifying event for London Olympics.

The 29-year-old Mary Kom is already a legend in women's boxing and is India's strong medal hope in London Olympics. Women's boxing will be making its debut at London in three weight categories -- 51kg, 60kg and 75kg.

"It is important (that I get the Olympic medal) but it is not everything. After fighting it out for over 10 years, I have got nothing to prove," said the mother of two, who will be fighting in the 51kg category.

Mary Kom, however, feels that even if she doesn't win an Olympic medal, it would take anything away from her decade-old glorious career.

"Besides, if I put too much pressure on myself, I might not be able to do well. I have to take it one bout at a time," she said.

The Manipuri is expecting a tough fight in the World Championships.

"I can't take anyone lightly. I have to take each of my opponent very seriously, concentrate hard and remain confident without taking too much pressure. That's a lot of work," she chuckled.

Besides, Mary Kom, Asian champion L Sarita Devi (60kg) and Pooja Rani (75kg) are the other Indians, who are expected to book their ticket to the London Olympics in their respective categories.

National coach Anoop Kumar is quite optimistic about the girls' chances.

"The only hitch is the quota that are allotted for each region. Even if say four Asians qualify for the quarterfinals, the slot available for the region are just two. So let's see, luck would play a role but these girls are at par with others and I am sure will do well," said Kumar.

Sarita, who along with Mary won a gold medal at last month's Asian Championships, said she has a point to prove. Sarita was asked to move up to 60kg from her original weight category of 51kg due to Mary Kom.

"I was demoralised after being told that I could no longer compete in the 51kg division. Jumping a division and competing within months of that requires a lot of dietary changes and it can be very punishing on the body. But I am the adamant sort, so when I decide to do something, I do it," she added.

Sarita said her performance in the Asian Championships has boosted her confidence.

"Asian Championships was the first time I competed in the 60kg division. I did not know what would happen but I managed to pull it off and by qualifying for Olympics, I want to prove myself once again because I have changed five weight categories and managed to do well in all of them," she said.

Squad for World Championships:
Olympic Weight Divisions: M.C. Mary Kom (51kg), L Sarita Devi (60kg), Pooja Rani (75kg).
Other Weight Divisions: Pinky Jangra (48kg), Sonia Lather (54kg), K Mandakini Chanu (57kg), Meena Rani (64kg), Neetu Chahal (69kg), Jenny RL (81kg), Kavita Chahal (+81kg).

Source: IANS