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Mary Kom speaks to Arnab: Her story of struggle to success and glory

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Harshitha M Varadaraj
Harshitha M Varadaraj
Just another 19 year old,too vocal in her views,yet as congenial as your girl next door in approach. An academic,student for life,thoughtful and active. God's child. A news junkie and a junk foodie. I tweet through my handle @HARSHITHA183 .

It has been just days since boxer Mary Kom, aptly and popularly known as ‘Mary kom-The Magnificent’ made our country proud, yet once again, by winning the sixth gold medal in world championship on the morning of Saturday (22 of November), defeating Hanna Okhota of Ukraine in a unanimous 5-0 verdict in the 48 kilos category summit clash.

Soon after her victory, several celebrities, politicians and sports-persons took to Twitter to congratulate the ‘Wonderwoman’ for her big win.

Here’s what the Prime Minister had to say,

There’s a question that usually comes to my mind everytime I see this ‘star’ of a kind, punch her way to glory and win away many a boxing bout so easily, bringing laurels to our country everytime. It is this,” A mother of three children? Unbelivable! How is it be possible for her to win even the toughest bouts? She is a ‘Wonderwoman’ for sure!”

Of course,we’ve all known her well for ages and have also read about her. Some of us must have watched her biopic Bollywood movie too. But not much about her struggle and determination, the zeal to rise above all the odds in her life, I knew until I watched this episode of the interview she graciously gave to Arnab Goswami, the Editor-in-chief of Republic TV, which went on air on Saturday night (on the 1st of December) at 9 PM IST on the channel.

On November 29th, the channel tweeted,

Following this, there was a tweet from the boxer too,

At 9 PM on the 1st of December, was the first broadcast of this interview, which I believe is one of the best interviews the journalist has taken so far. It makes one wonder if this woman, one of the country’s and undoubtedly, one of the world’s best sportpersons too had to go through so much in life including the financial insecurities back at home and lots of negativity and discouragement from her critics. But ‘Where there’s a will, there’s surely a way’ and she only proved this with her efforts and her tireless striving stretching its arms beyond perfection, leading finally to Magnificence.

In the interview where she took many a question from Arnab, she made sure that she answered each question exceptionally well. As relevant as possible and appropriate were her answers, that in this more or less 30 minute episode, she let the nation know all it wanted to know about her tough journey to finally become a champion. Watching this interview, one realises that she is not just a champ inside the ring, but a bigger champ outside it too. If it is her opponents she has punched to victory inside the ring, it is her difficulties and obstacles she has punched and defied them,outside the ring. One also realises that none of these could come in her way of achieving what she wanted to. This is what the self-made champion had to tell.

The episode began with Arnab referring to her as a ‘National icon’ and a ‘Global icon’, arising from the grassroots level, from a very humble background,battling every single challenge and winning bouts effortlessly as if the title is always meant for her. On being asked if she was exhausted, she replied that she has given at least 20 to 30 interviews and all the non-stop speaking has tired her out. When he questioned her of how she manages her stress or nervousness during or before the matches, she said, the several World championships, Asian championships, tournaments, matches she has fought so far has given her great experience and that she plans very well, strategises things, motivates herself often and listens to music during the preparation sessions. “I train in a flow, I focus and I don’t train unnecessarily”, she said.

Apart from motivating herself this way, she also spoke of how she believes in and keeps praying to God and said that, if one would simply ask God to help without actually working hard, God wouldn’t be happy. This one’s a great message for each of us too. Further she made a metaphorical reference to the ‘David and Goliath’ story from the Bible, where she referred to herself as the small David inside the ring and the other big countries as Goliaths.

When asked to let the viewers know what went through her mind before the big fight, she answered that she had trained really well and she thus knew the game plan well before the fight. Since she already has a clear picture and an idea of the opponent’s gameplan well, that enables her to win the game. “My right hand is very quick. I read my opponent’s mind”, she replied. She also revealed to Arnab that she considers boxer Muhammad Ali one of her main sources of inspiration, who is a Hero to her who inspired her to take up boxing.

On being questioned further,she spoke of how the determination comes from within you and from your experience when you are really hungry to achieve something great and that she used to get very angry during the initial days of her career. A lot of boxers,only concerned about winning, at times punch incorrectly and the decisions by the referee too, are at times unfair. She justified this with an incident of how, once, a judgement was against her, though she had actually won the bout and also said that when she went to that place where her opponents were present, she found them rejoicing and celebrating after the wrong verdict which was clearly a plan made by them that she had to lose that bout. This made her very angry and she blasted them to such an extent that she was banned for the following 2 weeks, she recalls. The Bollywood biopic movie too made her very angry because it did not bring out her real emotion well, she said.

Later she spoke about how she felt very bad and angry when her critics wrote negative articles about her even without asking her or checking their facts and information correctly. They say things without knowledge and it really hurts her when someone writes negative about her she said. She also spoke of how several told her that she could not box after marriage. There are several critics who go after her, write her off and speak behind her back whom she has always proven wrong with her winning. When she choose to train, there were several local boys who bullied her. In the beginning,she says how due to the financial insecurites back at home her family members and her father stopped her initially. Later he let her begin her training and encouraged her to make sure that she trained properly and with full focus on her game.

During her maternity,she was away from the ring for two years and found it a little hard to make her comeback again she said, talking about her comeback. At once I was reminded of the very famous saying, “She who rocks the cradle, rules the World too.” Mary Kom is the very personification and the most appropriate example of this. Not easy to have twins and box she said, and added that she wanted to continue boxing because it was her passion. The treatment, huge respect that she receives from her fans and the happiness while signing autographs for them leaves her very happy and motivated, she says. Fans consider her as family, she added.

It is surprising how this ‘gem’ of a kind managed to literally bulldoze her way to glory through all these difficulties in her life.

Her tale of zeal, determination and struggle to become one of the World’s best boxers is indeed a source of great inspiration for each one of us.

Kudos to this absolutely graceful self-made superstar and also to the journalist for this splendid interview!

You may watch the entire interview episode here,

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Harshitha M Varadaraj
Harshitha M Varadaraj
Just another 19 year old,too vocal in her views,yet as congenial as your girl next door in approach. An academic,student for life,thoughtful and active. God's child. A news junkie and a junk foodie. I tweet through my handle @HARSHITHA183 .
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