“I was so scared that I had to take an excuse. So I said, ‘I don”t fight with women’,” Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted after escaping a fight with six-time world champion Mary Kom. The Minister met a number of Indian athletes lately, as part of the Prime Minister’s Khelo India programme, at the Indira Gandhi Stadium sports training centre in New Delhi. Sharing his experience, he posted a video on his Twitter handle, where he can be seen avoiding a sparring session with Mary Kom.

The Olympic silver medallist was as usual intimidating and ready to take him on.

“Six times World Boxing Champion and India’s pride, Mary Kom kept saying; Come on, come on, let’s fight! I was so scared that I had to take an excuse. So I said, ‘I don”t fight with women.’” an overwhelmed Rijiju tweeted.

The 36-year-old Kom has an 18-year long illustrious career, with six World Championships, an Olympic bronze medal, and five Asian Championships to show.

Retirement plans

Mary Kom has recently announced her retirement plans after the Tokyo Olympics, as she will be retiring after winning the elusive gold medal missing from her trophy shelf.

The legendary boxer is also a sitting Rajya Sabha MP. “After 2020, I want to retire. So my main mission is to get gold for India. I really really want to win (gold),” Mary Kom said at an event, India Today reported.

The 2012 London Olympics bronze-medallist now aims to change the shade of her medal to gold.

“I always try my best to give a medal to the country and if possible a gold. I will be starting my preparation for the Olympic qualifiers and the World Championship. I want to win a gold medal this time,” she added.

READ:What Makes Mary Kom’s Life So Inspirational, Every Single Day

“We are training regularly for all competitions not just the Olympics. In the World Championship, I will get to know the opponents, what their strengths and weaknesses are. Accordingly I can prepare. I will also get extra time for preparing if the qualifiers are held later,” she claimed as she pointed out the uncertainty surrounding timings of the Olympic qualifiers.

“I have fought hardships outside and inside the ring for so long. Nobody can keep doing it forever. There are so many bright and upcoming youngsters and I hope and pray that we find a new Mary Kom soon.”

2016 was a disappointing year for Kom as she failed to qualify for the Rio Games. After that she had changed her weight category to 48kg but now the pugilist from Manipur is back to competing in the 51kg. Asked about the transition, Mary Kom said, “51kg category is not new for me. I was fighting in this category 4-5 years back. It was not continuous because I kept changing my weight.”

Magnificent Mary

In her nearly two decades long illustrious career, Mary became the most successful boxer in world championships’ history when she claimed the 48 kg category top honours in November last year in Delhi. The mother of three has won gold at prestigious events — the Commonwealth Games, India Open Boxing Tournament and now the World Championships. This time too, the six-time world champion is India’s biggest medal hope.

Earlier this year, her stellar sixth world title triumph secured her the number one position in the International Boxing Association’s (AIBA) latest world rankings. Same month she was also seen gracing the cover of fashion magazine Femina.

In the 2012 Olympics, she became India’s first woman boxer to clinch an Olympic medal. Now, the 36-year-old is looking forward to her 2020 Olympic dream, and her punches are becoming stronger than ever.

The historic gold

Kom created history by grabbing her sixth world championship title. She is an Olympic silver medallist and an Asian Games gold medal winner. The 36-year-old has surpassed Katie Taylor’s tally of five world titles and equalled Cuba’s Felix Savon as the most successful boxer (men and women’s boxing combined) in the history of World Championships. No other woman boxer has done it before.

Feature Image Credit: Outlook India

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