Mary Kom is the only woman boxer from India to have won 5 World Championship Titles consecutively. She has more than three Asian titles and eleven National titles under her belt. She is a recipient of the Arjuna Award, the Padma Shri Award, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award and a special award from AIBA. Now she is about to realise her ultimate dream of winning an Olympic Gold Medal. She is a champion in the light flyweight category but since that category does not exist in the Olympics she is punching above her weight in the flyweight category. So her bout on Wednesday against world No. 2 Nicola Adams will be her toughest test yet.
Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom (MC Mary Kom) was born on 1st March, 1983 and was brought up in a poor family. Her father Mangte Tonpa Kom and mother Mangte Akham Kom earned their livelihood by working in other people’s jhum fields. Being the eldest, Mary helped her parents work in the fields, cutting wood, making charcoal and fishing. She also looked after her two younger sisters and a brother.
How she started
Mary Kom was interested in sports since her childhood. She took a keen interest in athletics when she was in Class VI in Loktak Christian Mission School, Moirang and spent from Class VII- VIII in St.Xavier School, Moirang. Mary thought that she would become a good athlete one day and make a name for herself in the discipline. After completing her Class VIII, Mary went to Imphal and continued her studies at Adimjati School. Being so fond of sports, she enquired around and found out about women’s boxing. It was a new idea since women boxers were relatively unknown those days. The rise of Dingko Singh and the demonstration of women boxers at the 5th National Games inspired her.
Her entry into the ring
She quit her studies and started boxing. To pursue her dream of becoming a world class pugilist, she joined Sports Authority of India, Khuman Lampak and underwent intensive training from coach and mentor Ibomcha Singh. Seeing Mary’s potential and determination, Manipur State coaches Narjit Singh and Kishan Singh decided to take her under their wings.
She joined the police
Manipur Government gave her the post of Sub-inspector of police in 2005. She was promoted to Inspector of police in 2008 and again promoted to the post of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in 2010. She was also given a house at National Games Village as a gift for her outstanding achievements.
Mary married K.Onler Kom of Samulamlan Block whom she met in Delhi. Onler proved to be a guide, a friend and a philosopher for Mary and they decided to tie the knot at Manipur Baptist Convention Church on 12th March 2005. She is a mother of twins.
Her boxing academy
She started the Mary Kom Regional Boxing Foundation, formally known as MC Mary Kom Boxing Academy in 2006. It is a non-profit sports academy especially meant for under-privileged young people. Presently there are 37 boxers in the Academy, 16 female, 21 male, out of which 27 are residential boxers. So far, the academy has produced State and National Medalists in different weight categories.
*Information courtesy Mary Kom’s website
Picture from Sportblaze.com