Ace boxer Mary Kom said on Monday she will retire after the 2016 Rio Olympics but will continue to coach budding boxers and devote time to her boxing academy.
“After Rio I will retire. I will look after my own academy,” Kom, the five-time amateur world boxing champion, told reporters at Darjeeling’s Nepali Girl’s Higher Secondary School.
“Since many years I have proved myself in the ring. Till now I have to continue proving myself in the ring,” added Kom, speaking on the sidelines of the annual sports as part of the 125-year celebrations of the school.
The Olympic bronze medallist, who has leveled charges of regional bias against judges and referees alleging she had to face discrimination because she belonged to the northeast last week, is positive about Rio.
“I am trying my best to qualify. I am getting all help from the government,” said Kom.
The ace boxer said a lot of changes have come about in the boxing arena since she won the medals at the Asian Games and Olympics and a movie based on her life was released. She said many youngsters who were inspired by her achievements want to take up boxing now.
Kom extended an open invitation to all the budding boxers of the Darjeeling Hills promising absolutely free training.
“If anyone from Darjeeling is truly interested in boxing, come to Manipur I will extend all support. I will provide everything free. I hope the youngsters of Darjeeling take up sports, not only boxing, as a career,” she said.
In her address as the chief guest, the 32-year-old boxer said she is proud to be a girl, a woman and a mother.
“However, being a girl one has to face many challenges but you have to fight and prove yourself. When you prove yourself people will support you. I have done it, you all can do it too.”
She asked the students to follow her success mantra.
“Discipline, dedication, hard work, sacrifice and willpower will help you achieve your dreams,” the mother of three said amid thundering applause.
She was accompanied by her husband K Onler Kom.