Press Trust of india

Asian championship is crucial Olympic preparation for me: Mary Kom

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New Delhi: It’s a tournament that she has dominated for years but the Asian Boxing Championship this time is more than just a medal-winning opportunity for M C Mary Kom, who is “desperate for competition” before the Olympics after training in India was thrown haywire by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mary Kom (51kg) has collected one silver and a staggering five gold medals from her seven appearances at the continental showpiece.

The six-time world champion can’t wait to land in Dubai for the upcoming edition, which starts on May 24 because all she wants right now is a “good slugfest”.

“I have been so eager to compete, there has hardly been any training because of the pandemic and I need this desperately to assess myself before the Olympics,” the 38-year-old Manipuri told PTI from Pune, where she has been training for the past few days.

She had to move to Pune, along with a couple of other Olympic-bound women boxers, after the national camp in Delhi was forced to shut down because of a COVID-19 outbreak in the bubble created at the Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium last month.

“It has not been easy. I was at home after coming back from the tournament in Spain (in March). My children were not well, we had to manage that and it comes with its own set of anxieties. Then, the camp in Delhi was called off because of COVID,” she said.

“Something or the other kept affecting the training schedule. So the Asian Championship is important because I get to compete and there is nothing better than a good competition to help preparations,” she added.

The few days of training that she has got in the highly-rated Army Sports Institute at Pune have been beneficial, according to the legendary pugilist, who also got her first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine there.

“I feel confident about my body. But as I always say, I will give my best, whether it would be enough to get a medal is something that only time will tell,” said Mary Kom, reiterating her long-held pre-tournament position on medal expectations.

“I have also got the first dose of vaccine, so that’s also a bit reassuring,” she added.

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