Mary Kom is a leading woman boxer of India. She is one of the pioneers of women’s boxing in India. As a sports person, she has achieved a huge success.
Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom Hmangte is better known as Mary Kom. Mary Kom was born on 1st March 1983 in the small village of Kangathei in the northeastern state of Manipur. As a child, Mary along with her two younger sisters and brother worked in paddy fields, did household works and went to school.
She was not very good at studies but she could run fast she could also throw a javelin to a considerable long distance. And above all, she could punch hard.
In 1998 Dingko Singh a boxer of Mary’s State came back with a gold medal from the Asian Games in Bangkok. His warm Welcome and felicitations in the state of Manipur impressed the teenager athlete mary. As a result, she firmly decided to become a boxer.
She rushes at the Sports Authority of India Center in Imphal to meet Narjit Singh who coached male boxers. Initially, he denied training mary because of her short and fragile physical structure. When he came out of the center in late evening Mary was still standing there weeping.
This type of eagerness and dedication of Mary towards the game changed Narjit Singh’s mind. He agreed to train her. Then she never looked back and work hard to achieve various national and international awards.
Her career as a boxer started in the year 2000 with a victory in the Manipur state women’s Boxing Championship. Till then she never informed her parents about her training as a boxer. Her father saw her photograph in the local newspaper when she won the state championship.
He seriously scolded her and instructed her to discontinue her boxing. Because he believed that it would be difficult for him to find a match for her.
With great difficulty, she managed to convince her father to continue her game. She explained the difference between an amateur and professional boxing. She told him about the rules and regulations in amateur boxing and if there is an injury, the referee stops the play. By then her family gave her full support to go ahead in the career.
Being a woman she had to struggle a lot. For her, it was a constant battle to overcome prejudice and challenges outside the ring as much as inside it against her opponents.she openly accepted that when she started she had no encouragement and no support.
It was very hard because she came from a poor Family, and she had to face hardships for the first 4-5 years. She recalled those days when she never had money to buy a proper kit or good shoes and she uses to travel long distance by bus or train.
The prime reason for mary to take up boxing as a career was to lead her farming dependent family towards a better livelihood. The other strong reason was to prove those people wrong who made very discouraging remarks on her.
Boxing was not considered respectable for women and nobody believed that Mary could not stop people from talking but she would prove them wrong with her success.
Gradually her hard work brought her brilliant success at the national level and international level as well. She becomes a world champion not once but five times. She also secured Bronze medals in Asian games and Olympics and gold medal in Asian games.
In recognition, her huge success the government of India conferred on her Arjuna award(2003), Padma Shree in 2006, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award in 2009 and Padma Bhushan in 2013.
Her greatest achievement though has been the fact that much of her success has come after the cesarean birth of her twins.she frankly accepted, “It was difficult to come back because I had been out of the ring for two years. It was hard to regain my fitness.No one expected me to win. Even my parents didn’t think it would be possible.” she gave credit to her husband for that come-back,”
My husband didn’t stop me. Most Indian men don’t give permission to their wives to work after marriage or after having kids. But my husband told me I should continue to play for as many years as I wanted.”
As a pioneer of women’s boxing in India, Mary is already an inspiration for many others who hope to follow in her footsteps. Her autobiography unbreakable(2013) and the biopic Mary Kom (2014)are the sources of hope for those who are struggling hard to progress in life.
She is also known as Magnificent Mary because of her determination to overcome any obstacles that come in her way even today. for her achievements and future scope she says, ” I am very proud because I have done something special for India.
And if I can achieve more in the future that will be great. I am working hard and getting training with full focus. Of course, I miss my family and my children. I miss them very much. But this is a sacrifice I have to make for my country and I will do my level best.