New Delhi, November 14: Boxer M C Mary Kom will aim for a historic sixth gold at the AIBA Women's World Championships beginning on Thursday (November 15), the build up of which has been marred by a row over lone Kosovan boxer's participation and poor quality air in the national capital.
The 10th edition of the championships, set to be the biggest ever with more than 300 participants from 72 countries, is being held in the backdrop of boxing's uncertain Olympic future in the aftermath of controversial Uzbek businessman Gafur Rakhimov's election as president.
The 35-year-old Mary Kom, who is India's biggest hope, is tied with Katie Taylor on five gold medals and one more will make her the most successful woman boxer in history since the Irish pugilist has turned a Pro.
The 'Magnificent Mary', who will fight in the 48 kg, will also look to win her second gold in front of the home crowd. She has enjoyed a stellar year so far, claiming gold medals at the Commonwealth Games, the inaugural India Open and the International Tournament in Poland.
However, the 2012 Olympics bronze medallist is aware that the road to gold will not be easy. "There are boxers who are still playing in my category since 2001. I know them very well. The new boxers are tougher and smarter, they are faster. I will use my experience. The past boxers are more or less the same, I know them," Mary Kom said.
Another veteran who will be seeking her second gold at the championships will be Mary Kom's Manipur statemate L. Sarita Devi who will feature in 60kg. She has five Asian titles besides winning gold in 2006 here.
The other eight in the team are Pinky Jangra (51 Kg), Manisha Maun (54 Kg), Sonia (57 Kg), Simranjit Kaur (64 Kg), Lovlina Borgohain (69 Kg), Saweety Boora (75 Kg), Bhagyabati Kachari (81 Kg) and Seema Poonia (+81 Kg).
The 10-day championships, which run till November 24, will feature a host of Olympic and World Championship medallists.