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India's Mary Kom has great plans

After her two consecutive gold medals in world championships, Mary wants to complete the hat trick of titles.

india Updated: Nov 17, 2006 18:42 IST

When M.C. Mary Kom steps inside the ring at the World Women's Boxing Championships beginning in Delhi on Saturday, she will attempt to stifle her opponents by cramping them for space to win another gold.

That will be Mary Kom's broad strategy in the 46 kg category when she fights her biggest battle on home turf in front of supporters, including her husband and parents who have arrived in Delhi from Manipur to cheer her.

"I simply try to cramp my opponents so that they don't get any chance to free their arms," told Mary Kom.

"My height (around five feet) is a problem but my fitness is my advantage. I make my opponents run a lot in the ring, which tires them," she said, looking ahead to the 32-nation competition being held at Talkatora Indoor Stadium.

If Mary Kom wins gold, it will be complete her hat trick of titles at the highest level.

She won her first gold in Antalya, Turkey, in 2004 and then successfully defended it in Podolsk, Russia, last year. She clinched silver at the 2003 world championships in Pennsylvania.

Coach Anoop Kumar says that no one has ever performed a hat trick in any category of the World Women's Boxing Championship.

But Mary Kom is not worried about winning the gold or statistics. She wants to take it step by step.

"I don't think too much about all these statistics. If I get engrossed in these things I won't be able to fight freely.

"I have to plan each game according to its merit. So a gold medal is a distant dream for me as I have to ensure first that I get to the final round."

The only thing the diminutive ace prays for is luck.

"I have done all the hard work all these months and now I need some luck. I think god will listen to our prayers and luck will be on our side," she hoped.

Being the top boxer in the country is an honour that has brought added responsibility for Mary Kom - to do the country proud every time she gets into the ring.

"There are lots of expectations from me and that puts pressure on me every time I go out to fight. I have to cope with that on the one hand and my opponent on the other," she said.

Fighting in front of the home crowds at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium will be a challenging job. But Mary Kom has prepared for that by training hard at the three camps held for the Indian squad.

"The camps in Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata gave me a good insight into the technical aspect of the sport. We used to analyse the video footage of foreign players and used to note their techniques.

"Even the visit to Denmark for the Venus Cup (where she won the 46 kg gold), gave me a lot of exposure against foreign players from Russia and Canada."

Russian, American and North Korean boxers are expected to pose the biggest challenge to Mary Kom and other Indians.