Chungneijang Mary Kom Hmangte, popularly known as Mary Kom, born in Manipur, is an Indian Olympic boxer. She is the only female to make a six times winning record of the World Amateur Boxing Championship and the only female boxer to win a medal in each of the total seven world championships. Nicknamed Magnificent Mary, she is the only Indian female boxer to have qualified for the 2012 Olympics, competing in the flyweight (51 kg) category and winning a bronze medal. But her path to success was not easy and she went through a lot of hardships to fulfill her dreams. Her success story is inspirational to women all around the world who want to pursue a career in sports.
The early life of Mary Kom
Mary Kom was born on March 1, 1983, in Kangathei village, Moirang Lamkhai in rural Manipur. Her parents were tenant farmers who worked in jhum fields. She belonged to a poor family and her family had financial problems while growing up. Being the eldest, Mary helped her parents work in the fields, cutting woods, making charcoal, and fishing. On the other hand, she spent a good time looking after her two younger sisters and a brother. Ever since she was a child, Mary was interested in sports. She was initially an all-around athlete, and 400-m and javelin were her main events.
Passion for boxing
It was the success of Dingko Singh that inspired her to enhance her boxing skills and take up professional boxing. When Dingko Singh returned from the Bangkok Asian Games with a gold medal, Mary wanted to give boxing a try. She began boxing in 2000 and was a quick learner who preferred to be put through the same paces as the boys around her. Since boxing is considered unsuitable for women, Mary Kom never told her parents that she was interested in boxing. Her father scolded her when a photo of her winning the state boxing championship came in the newspaper. However, this did not stop her from following her dreams and pursuing a career in boxing. Mary Kom started boxing at the age of 18 at the international level which is considered old by some standards. However, she did not lose faith.
Her unwavering determination
In the year 2005, she got married to Onler. Due to this, she took a break from boxing. Mary Kom was determined to enter into the ring again with determination and strong will. She started training again after having two children. This was not easy for her. Along with being a mother, she also had to focus on boxing. Her perseverance and willpower helped her and she became unstoppable.
She won a silver medal at the 2008 Asian Women’s Boxing Championship in India and a fourth successive gold medal at the 2008 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships in China, followed by a gold medal at the 2009 Asian Indoor Games in Vietnam. She continued to win various medals after this. On 5th August 2012, she won the bronze model in the 2012 Olympics. On November 24, 2018, she created history by becoming the first woman to achieve 6 World Championships at the 10th AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships held in New Delhi, India.
Lessons we can learn
Mary Kom is an incredible woman and athlete. She came from such humble beginnings and through her hard work, broke so many records. When Mary Kom thought about boxing, she had nothing. But due to her determination, dedication, and passion, she became a six-time World Champion and an Olympic medallist.
How many times has Mary Kom won The World Amateur Boxing Championship?
What medal did she win at the 2012 Summer Olympics?