London calling for mom of Mary Kom too
Women`s boxing will make its Olympic debut in London and fittingly, it is the 29-year-old Mary Kom (51kg) who would be shouldering the Indian hopes for a medal.
The diminutive Manipuri, who herself has two kids, said having her own mother, Mangte Akham Kom, in London is nothing short of a dream coming true.
Interestingly, Akham Kom would be stepping outside the country for the first time in her life and her London trip is being sponsored by corporate giant Procter and Gamble as part of its "Thank you, Mom" campaign.
"Olympics would be the biggest event of my career and I am so excited that my mom would see me live in action for the first time at such a big stage. I can`t tell how happy I am right now," Mary Kom, who will leave for London today told PTI from Pune where she is currently training.
"To have her in the stands some day was one of my ambitions and this dream would be real soon."
Mary Kom described Akham as an immense source of strength but conceded that she was not quite impressed with her choice of career at first. "As any other mother, she was worried about my well-being, she didn`t want me to get hurt. So, she didn`t like it when I first started boxing. But she never stopped me because of her concerns. She supported my decision even though she did not agree with it," recalled Mary Kom.
`Magnificent Mary`, as she is called by the Internatinal Boxing Association, described Akham as the "biggest source of strength" in her life. "While I was away from the country in competitiopns, she helped in taking care of my twin sons. That way, I was relieved of a lot of stress," she said.
Talking of stress, asked if she was feeling the pressure as the London Games approached, Mary Kom laughed, "I am walking on sunshine. I don`t have any worries."
"My training in Pune has been just fantastic and I can`t wait for the Games to start. There is no stress, I am enjoying my game. I have nothing to prove. Yes, it`s a big ocassion but I have been there before. It won`t be new for me. I will fight the same opponents with whom I have fought in the past," she said.
Mary Kom, if she gets a first-round bye, will have to win just one bout to be assured of a medal in London where India will also have seven male boxers in contention.