They're not hungry enough: Mary Kom is blowing up a new generation of athletes

Six-time world champion boxer MC Mary Kom believes that the new generation of athletes is not hungry enough to achieve success like her and is satisfied with just one big achievement.

The Olympic bronze medalist also said that at the age of 41, she is “super fit” and hungry to “achieve more and more.”

I will (continue to) fight, that fighting spirit that only Mary Kom has… I have that something unique from other sports stars,” Mary Kom, who has not ruled out turning professional in the coming years, said at an event on Saturday.

“I am 41 years (old), I cannot enter any international (amateur) competition from this year onwards because there is that age limit. But I want to continue for one, two or three more years,” she said.

Mary Kom added that despite having more facilities and options in the sport than when she started boxing, the current generation is not hungry enough.

“I am super fit, I want to achieve more and more, that hunger that I have. This young generation, they (become) one (time) champion and are ready, they are satisfied, (they) settle down. This is the difference,” she said.

“If, like me, they have that spirit and that hunger, we will have so many medals in our country,” Mary Kom added.

Incidentally, India returned last year with its richest ever haul of 107 medals at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, with many athletes winning multiple medals.

Mary Kom said she was happy to see the increase in the number of young women taking up boxing.

“My hard work has paid off and now there are so many Mary Koms coming up. I am so proud to be a girl, a mother, an Indian… so many are following my footsteps,” she said.

The boxing icon added that while training and the right guidance were crucial for young athletes, hunger and inner drive make the difference.

“Training is hard. Inner hunger and drive are the most important. Now the facilities are better. When I started my career in 2001, no one knew women in boxing,” she said.

Mary Kom believed that it takes much more determination to achieve a medal in individual sport than in team events.

“(In) football, cricket and basketball you still have a chance… in individual sports you lose and you are done in one second. It comes from within, chahe kuch bhi ho jaye medal lena hai (you have to win a match win) medal, no matter what happens). If you are not willing, nothing can happen,” she added.

(Only the headline and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

First print: January 6, 2024 | 10:03 PM IST