Mary Kom hardly needs an introduction. Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom, born on March 1st 1983 is a boxer from the Sino-Tibetan speaking Kom tribe in Manipur, representing India.
This gritty world championship winner has been breaking the myth that women are fragile with amazing consistency over the years. Born in Kangathei, Manipur to Mangte Tonpa Kom and Mangte Akham Kom, Mary was inspired to take up boxing looking at the success of Dingko Singh and in 2000 she started training under M. Narjit Singh , the state boxing coach at Khuman Lampak in Imphal.
Having studied only till class 8, Mary Kom made up for leaving school by practising diligently and consequently brought boxing sport into the eyes of a cricket crazed nation like India. She started participating and winning titles right from 2001, one year after starting boxing. Mary Kom won the Witch cup in 2002 and brought pride to our nation when she won the Gold medal at the World Amateur Boxing Championship at the 2003 Asian games.
Kom got married to her longtime friend and support K Onler Kom in 2005. Having married, Kom was besieged with domestic responsibilities and tried to get into a government job; but boxing was her love and with the support of her family and devoted husband, she started training again and focused on becoming fit for her sport.
Achievements & Awards
Success never comes easy to women and it was no different for Ms. Kom. Having been out of the sport circuit for quite some time, people were doubtful of her success. But she did not let that stop her from following her goal. In 2008, true to her form – Ms. Kom reclaimed the first position in the Women’s World Amateur Boxing Championships held in Ningbo, China thus shutting her critics down and announcing she has arrived!
Ms. Kom was competing in the All India Boxing Amateurs – Women’s world boxing championship. Winning this would make her qualify to the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Ms. Kom was defeated but managed to secure a place for herself for the Olympics representing India, becoming the only woman to qualify for the boxing event! She faced Nicola Adams of UK and lost but stood third in the entire competition bringing home a bronze! An amazing feat indeed! The Manipur Government awarded her Rs. 50 lakhs and two acres of land a cabinet meeting held on 9 August 2012. She is now preparing to represent India in the upcoming 12th South Asian Games 2016 to be held in Guwahati and Shillong.
Talent never goes unnoticed. Mary Kom’s achievements were recognised and rewarded by the country. Mary Kom received the Arjuna Award in 2006, was conferred the Padma Shree (Sports) in the year 2006 and was conferred the prestigious Padma Bhushan award in the year 2013 for her excellent sportsmanship and skill.
Mary Kom & Philanthropy
Mary Kom is an animal rights activist. She is part of PETA and advocates strongly against mistreatment of animals. “One of the best ways to knock out cruelty to animals is to teach compassion to young people. Animals need us in their corner. With violence seemingly all around us, it is more important than ever that we teach lessons of respect and kindness in the classroom.”
Today, Mary Kom runs an academy in Manipur that teaches self- defence and works hard to help girls achieve their dreams and fight against the odds. Here’s to Mary Kom – nicknamed Magnificient Mary – the true embodiment of integrity, grit, determination and perseverance! We bow to you!