When I heard the news that the Olympics have been postponed, my first thought was, this is good, it’s good for all the athletes. Our lives are more important, it’s more important than sports, more important than our professions. Who would have gone to the Olympics now? More than half of the athletes have not even qualified. Now we can breathe a little easy, be free in our minds. We were all in a panic till now. How will we train? How will we compete? Everything had been suspended!
Personally, we have not even been going to church on Sundays!
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The Olympics is the main thing in my life right now. It is my last mission. I have already won everything—an Olympic gold is the only thing that’s lacking in my life. I want to give my country this gift, an Olympic gold. This is my time! We athletes have very little time to do what we want to do, and I still have that time, I am not old. I don’t have any worries about going on for another year, about staying strong. Mentally, physically, will power—all of it is very strong. No one can beat me easily; no one has more experience than me. My experience is huge, it’s my main strength. These young boxers can’t touch me, they can only talk on social media.
I don’t worry because I’ve already qualified for the Olympics. I will fight. I gave birth to, and raised, four children, and I am still fighting. I am ready for any challenge.
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Right now, under lockdown, I am training. I train every day, no matter what. Even if there are no national camps. I do at least one session a day for one hour—skipping rope, shadow boxing, weight training. I also have a treadmill at home, and I run every day. We have a Whatsapp group with coaches, the boxing team; they keep sending updates and workout routines. Even if they don’t send anything, I will train, keep following my routine.
Now with the extra time, I can plan better. Coaches can plan better and fine tune strategies. The sports ministry, the boxing federation, they can put in more funds, create a better training programme.
This is the right time to stay at home with my family. Because I am training and competing all the time, I usually get no time with my daughter and my three sons. This is the best, the most fun time I’ve had with my family ever. I am also cooking a lot, today I made lots of vegetables, Manipuri style.
As told to Rudraneil Sengupta
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