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As these women box on, do they risk becoming mothers?

Most women boxers gathered here for the ongoing World Championships seem to be too keen to excel, ignoring the fact that they stand a chance //of rupturing their womb muscles that could prevent them from conceiving.

While some are simply after medals, for others, mostly foreign boxers, marriage is not on their radar at all.

The married Indian pugilists - M.C. Mary Kom, 24, who is seeking a third successive gold medal in the 46 kg at the World Championships, and 26-year-old Aruna Mishra (66 kg) - are at the moment not thinking of motherhood.

While Mary Com dreams of representing India at the Olympic Games and possibly win a medal, Aruna aims to win more medals.

"People think that it is fine to carry on with the sport, until we get married. But we have to change this mentality. In the European countries, some women carry on with boxing even after they become mothers," Mary Kom told IANS, justifying her decision not to venture into motherhood for now.

"I don't want to think about it (having children) now. I have a long way to go. I can only think of it after I do the country proud in the Olympics," she said.

But Mary Kom might never get to realise her dream of fighting at the Olympics as women's boxing is not part of the programme - certainly not in the 2008 Beijing Games, by which time she will be 26.

Even if the women's boxing is included in the 2012 Olympics in London, there is no guarantee that the woman from Manipur will remain injury-free and in the same physical condition as she is now, plus selection will also play a major part.

Doctors say the constant battering that boxers receive on their lower abdomen can cause grave injuries, including rupturing of muscles that might affect the womb and prevent them from conceiving.

Even if a woman becomes pregnant, they could develop complications during pregnancy.

"The punches on abdominal muscles, which
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