The minute we think of Mary Kom, all that comes to our head is her struggle and her hunger to become a winner in life. Like she says, success only strikes us if we try and work hard for it, it is indeed true. Mary says she doesn’t see herself taking up any other profession in life and be as happy as she is today. Let’s look at her prodigious journey here:
‘Chungneijang Mary Kom Hmangte’ or as we all call her ‘Mary Kom’ was born in a poor family in Kangathei, Manipur where her parents worked in jhum fields. Mary as a child too used to go to the fields and help her parents.
Being the eldest child, she’d also look after her younger sisters when their parents were away, working. In her free time, she used to practice running and was an athlete.
Not many kids from Manipur she knew was into sports. And the people around her would only appreciate the games that were famous and that they were comfortable playing. Looking at Dingko Singh, she got inspired to start boxing. She didn’t tell her parents about this new found passion until she started learning it.
In the year 2000, Mary started boxing and learned the sport within no time. “In just two weeks, I had learned all the basics. I guess I had God-given talent for boxing,” said Mary in one of her interviews.
Her father scolded her when a picture of her, winning the state boxing championship came in the newspaper. She wouldn’t let go of her passion even then. She joined the Sports Authority of India, Khuman Lampak and underwent an intensive training from coach and mentor, Shri. Ibomcha Singh.
She was only 18 when she first entered the ring, participating in the First Women Boxing Championship held at Pennsylvania, USA. In her first tournament itself, Mary won a silver medal in the 46 kg weight category. What a Champ!
After that match, she went on to win several medals, one after the other. She won a gold at the second Association International De Boxe Amateur (AIBA) World Women’s Senior Boxing Championship. held at Antalya, Turkey, a year after her first win.
There was no going back for Mary after that. She went to win everything she could. Her top honours being beating Asian champion Kim Myong Sim in the title bout at the Asian Cup women’s boxing tournament in Haikou, China. The Iron Lady has also taken medals at The Asian Games, Olympics and more.
In the last 18 years, Mary has won 18 gold, 2 silver and 2 bronze International titles. In India, she’s competed in and won about 10 championships.
Mary has also been awarded the International Boxing Association award twice, The Padma Bhushan, The Padma Shri, Arjuna Award, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, Olympians for Life award, etc for her stellar performances.