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Mary’s mantra: Gain without pain 

New Delhi, November 26

Mary Kom’s evolution as a boxer has been spectacular. From a “no skills, mostly strength” boxer when she started out, the diminutive Manipuri has matured into a master strategist, clearly evident in her golden triumph at the World Championships that concluded in Delhi on Sunday. “In 2001, I was young, inexperienced, in fact I would say I had no skill. I was only relying on strength and stamina to pull through. Just following my instincts at that time,” said Mary. “But now I have the experience to ensure that I didn’t exert myself unnecessarily. I don’t want to get hit anymore, I like to win bouts without getting struck and this is what I largely managed to do this time. No wasting of efforts. I have become calculative.”

Special win

It wasn’t the first time she won a Worlds gold on home turf — she had won a gold in Delhi in 2006 as well. That gold, though, was not followed by the free flow of tears, like this time around. Back then, she had a wide smile on her face right through the celebrations. This time, tears flowed freely.

“I can put it down to the hype and pressure maybe. At that time, women’s boxing was not that well known. People came but it wasn’t the same buzz. This time I saw people in the stands chanting my name and it overwhelmed me,” she said. “There was this huge buzz and on the final day it completely overpowered me, emotionally. That’s why I broke down, I couldn’t help it,” she explained.

So does that make this gold the most special of her six world titles? “Certainly among the most special medals of my career but I can’t put a finger on which one matters more to me because each one has come after a lot of hard work,” said the 36-year-old mother-of-three.

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