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World Championships: Older, wiser, stronger Mary Kom attempts to win 6th global title
(New Delhi, Nov 14, 2018):MC Mary Kom will face a new wave of younger, faster contenders as she attempts to win her sixth global title at her seventh World Championships, competing in the 48 kg category, with Delhi hosting the 10th edition at the IG Stadium. The 35-year-old Mary Kom insisted she would compensate for speed against the “smarter and tougher” opponents using her experience and energy when Delhi hosts the event starting Wednesday.

Mary Kom leads India’s 10-member contingent which sees the return of Pinky Jangra in the 51 kg category, with the spotlight shared by L Sarita Devi in the 60 kg division. Indian boxing’s High-Performance Director Santiago Nieva insisted he was gunning for gold in one category at least and a minimum of three medals in total with anything less being considered below-par.

“I expect at least three medals, including a gold. We will not be satisfied if we can’t achieve that. Everything more than 3 medals will be a bonus and great result for us.” Besides Mary Kom, Nieva has tipped two others to shine at this tournament. “Lovelina (Borgohain, 69kg), Manisha (54kg) looked pretty impressive in training sessions but a competition bout is totally different. It is their first World Championship and they are relatively inexperienced but they are good boxers,” he told PTI. Simranjit Kaur is another name Indians will be training their eyes on.

The focus though will squarely remain on Mary Kom – Indian boxing’s torchbearer for more than a decade now. “We have a distinct advantage in front of the home crowd and they will definitely shore up our confidence,” said Mary Kom. “We have been training hard at the camp and are sure of doing well,” added the Indian legend.

The challenges have altered for the legend who in her illustrious career picked an astounding five titles besides her Olympic bronze and Asian Games gold. “There are boxers from my batch who are still playing in my category since 2001. I know them very well. The new boxers are more tough and smart, they are faster. I will use my experience. The past boxers are more or less the same, I know them,” said Mary Kom. “I need to have the energy to play three rounds, it is not about just one round, so accordingly we have to plan, how much capacity I have and unnecessarily punching is also wasting energy,” she added.

Other top names from around the globe include gold medal challengers Virginia Fuchs (51 kg) from the US, Lin Yu Ting (54) from Taipei, Yin Junhua (57) from China, Mira Potkonen (60) from Finland, Gu Hong (69) from China, Nouchka Fontijn (75) from the Netherlands, Wang Lina (81) and defending champion Yang Xiaoli (+81), both from China, along with other Olympic and European championships medal winners with 300 pugilists from 73 countries expected to be in action. The Indians got to spar with boxers from a dozen countries, and Mary said, “It was great sparring with foreign boxers for seven days, that sort of helped. While sparring I found that there is a new set of boxers who are quite fast, but my experience counts and I will try to use that to my advantage against them.”

Scotland, Malta, Bangladesh, Cayman Islands, DR Congo, Mozambique, Sierra Leone and Somalia are making their debut to make the New Delhi championships very special while US, Peurto Rico and European powerhouses lead the way.

Mary last won a medal here in Delhi when the capital hosted the 2006 edition. The biggest change in the last dozen years is the increase in the reliance on video analysis. The mother-of-three and India’s most decorated woman Olympian in boxing, though, was as combative as ever. “Let them take videos, let them record whatever they want. Every competition is a challenge for us, because in every competition we have fought different boxers, they keep changing. I will do what I am supposed to in the ring,” she said.

“Now participants from Asian Games, CWG and Olympics all have been included and in every competition they have got the exposure, so they have got more experience, so may be because of the training program, may be they have a good coach, that has all made them improve a lot. Even the boxers are clever and pick things quickly.”

Nieva reckoned the expectations from Mary would be gigantic. “Everybody expects Mary Kom to win a gold medal but it won’t be easy. She has strong competition, she needs to perform as nobody will give her the gold free,” Nieva said ahead of the elite International Boxing Association (AIBA) event. He however expressed confidence in her ability to deal with that pressure. “Everybody knows her. She has some pressure but she has done this before and we are confident she can do it again,” he said.

Indian Squad:

Players: Mary Kom (48 Kg), Pinky Jangra (51 Kg), Manisha Maun (54 Kg), Sonia (57 Kg), L Sarita Devi (60 Kg), Simranjit Kaur (64 Kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69 Kg), Saweety Boora (75 Kg), Bhagyabati Kachari (81 Kg) and Seema Poonia (+81 Kg).

Coaches: Raffaele Bergamasco (Foreign Coach); Shiv Singh (Head Coach) Sandhya Gurung; Md.Ali Qamar; Chhote Lal Yadav; Satvir Kaur. Support Staff: Dr. Amol Arun Patil (Team Doctor); Aayush Chittaranjan Yekhande (Physiotherapist). Simon Singh (Video Analyst); Veena Joyel (Massuere)

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