Capt Seshadri Sreenivasan touches base with the legendary Mary Kom. Six-time World Champion boxer and lady extraordinaire and the brand ambassador for the Tata Mumbai Marathon 2019.
In a crowded press room, Mary Kom saunters in, punching the air and smiling the smile of an unbeatable world champion. No swagger required for this champion of champions; her very presence is awe-inspiring. As questions fly thick and fast, Mary defends them with a deft left hook. Her answers, though, are extremely emotional and thought-provoking.
In her opinion, she has achieved whatever any person would want to; medals too many in number to count, which she modestly and jokingly attributes to her fuzzy brain, laid low from years of being punched in the head. So, what then is her final medal destination? The Olympic gold, obviously, which has eluded her over the past decade. So, what makes her tick?
It is evidently her relentless pursuit of personal satisfaction of giving her all-out effort to achieve the best she possibly can, without the accompanying disappointments of defeat. “I have achieved more than any ordinary person”, she says. “Many people, including my close family, ask me why I want to go further. But there is still a fire in my belly to achieve more and more while I still can”.
Capt Seshadri Sreenivasan: What were your reactions when you saw your own biopic?
Mary Kom: Oh, at first, it was so emotional. Most of the picture, except a few scenes about violence in Manipur, was a true depiction of my life. It took me quite a while to move away from it and tell myself that it is a movie after all. But on the whole, I liked it very much.
Capt: You must have made a lot of sacrifices, especially with your family. How did you handle it?
MK: It was truly terrible. I had, at one time, to leave my one-year-old son to get back to boxing.
Mary reiterates that hailing from a small town, and being a woman, it was extremely tough to follow the standards set by her idol, Muhammed Ali. But, despite opposition and discrimination, she managed to climb to the heights that have established her as a living legend in the field of boxing.
A surprise visitor to the meet was a Commonwealth Games gold medallist from her own state of Manipur, way back between 1998 in Kuala Lumpur and 2002 in Manchester, Dingko Singh. After a quick dialogue with him, Mary lapsed into an exhortation to junior boxers to shed their fears and move forward to challenge people like her so that they could move up the ladder to international recognition.
Mary Kom. Living legend. Looking for more!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Capt Seshadri Sreenivasan is a former armed forces officer with over 30 years experience in marketing. He also a consulting editor with a leading publishing house. He is a co-author of the best selling biography of astronaut Sunita Williams.