Mary Kom, undoubtedly one of the greatest female boxers in the world, placed in a very well position in the global ring. From winning five world championships to Olympic bronze, she has achieved more than any boxers have ever done in India.
Many believe that it was Mary Kom who made the people in the rest of the country believe that there is a state called Manipur exist in India. Being such a huge sporting icon, the expectations are always on high. But Mary Kom who is donning a different hat at the present as a Rajya Sabha MP, many believe that she has somewhere failed to live up to the expectations of millions of her fans and followers across the country.
“It’s slightly unfortunate that Mary Kom has failed to live up to the expectations of the people after she became the MP. She got involved in other activities including some commercial contacts other than sports. She has a huge responsibility to inspire the hundreds of youngsters who look up to her as idol. She could have followed the example set by Sachin Tendulkar, who in spite of being an MP continues to get involved in sporting events in various ways,” said Guwahati based senior sports journalist Subudh Mallah Baruah who has witnessed the rise of Mary Kom. Baruah who is also the president of Sports Journalists Federation of India (SJFI) said that just setting up an academy is not enough. “Seeing the kind of image she has, Mary now had made her periphery so narrow. Not just in sports, she can also inspire in social system in a great way. But I very much believe that there are still hope and she can do it any moment,” he added.
Mary Kom who was nominated for the Rajya Sabha in 2016 had said that she would do her best to uplift Indian sports. But nothing significant was seen so far. Besides, though the champion pugilist tends to make a comeback in the ring for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, it will be seen in time. Because, the age will a barrier for her as she will be around 37 during that period. “I won’t say it’s impossible but it will be very tough at that age. In sports, your dedication and hard work can make anything possible like our very own Leander Paes has won a grand slam at 42. So, she can still do it but the process will be pretty tough,” Baruah said.
Mary Kom last month had said that she would go back to the light flyweight 48kg division amid speculation that it is among the two categories that the International Boxing Association (AIBA) is pushing for inclusion in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. “I have decided to move back to light flyweight because that is my original weight category. I feel the most comfortable competing in it and I don’t have to punish my body to maintain this weight. I am feeling very positive once again and just wait and watch what I do now,” Mary Kom was quoted by PTI.
The 34-year-old mother of three was honoured with the AIBA Legend’s Award for her stellar career so far during the world body’s 70th anniversary celebrations on December 20 last year.