MC Mary Kom, The Unbreakable Champion

6 minute read
Mary Kom

“Never buy gold, simply earn it.” Known not just as Mary Kom, but also as Magnificent Mary around the world has never ever failed to surprise the world with her dedication, ambition and talent. Life has showered many challenges and hurdles on her in her professional as well as personal life. But she never stopped fighting. Her life has been just like a boxing ring, where she sometimes wins and loses. She is a living inspiration who sprouted from a small-town girl and went to become the queen of boxing! Indeed it wasn’t an easy cakewalk for her, so let’s get to know about the life of Mary Kom through this blog. 

Full Name Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom 
Date of Birth 24 November 1982
Place of Birth Kangathei, Manipur, India
Nationality Indian 
Awards Padma Vibhushan 
Padma Bhushan 
Padma Shri Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award
Arjuna Award
Sport Women’s amateur boxing

Mary Kom’s first Olympic bout at #Tokyo2020!

YouTube: Olympics
  • Mary Kom fought galantly against Colombian Ingrit Valencia in the women’s flyweight pre-quarterfinals but lost the match at Tokyo 2020.

Early Life and Childhood 

Mary Kom
Courtesy: MrOwl

Mary Kom was born on November 24, 1982, the eldest daughter of her parents, Mangte Tonpa Kom and Mangte Akham Kom. Both were tenant farmers who always struggled to make a living for their family by working in the ‘Jhum’ fields. Along with her studies, she spent her childhood supporting her parents with farm and household chores. Mary got her sense of sportsmanship from her dad, who used to wrestle as a kid.

Courtesy: SheThePeople

After seeing her fellow statesman Dingko Singh win a gold medal for India at the Asian Games, she was inspired to pursue a career in boxing. Mary Kom attended the Loktak Christian Model High School in Moirang until she was in sixth grade, then transferred to St. Xavier Catholic School in Moirang until she was in eighth grade. During this period, she developed a strong interest in athletics, especially the javelin and the 400-meter dash. She has always had a strong desire to participate in sports and athletics. Her ability to study sports was one of the primary motivators for her to attend school. She willingly had always participated in all kinds and types of sports be it football, volleyball, running, athletics, etc. Mary Kom attended Adimjati High School in Imphal for classes IX and X after finishing standard VIII, but she failed the matriculation test. She dropped out of school because she didn’t want to retake the exams, so she took them at NIOS in Imphal and graduated from Churachandpur College.

Becoming a Boxing Champion!

Mary Kom
Courtesy: MensXP

The road was not easy for her because society, friends, relatives and her parents objected to her decision to try boxing, believing it to be a boy’s sport. Mary began training in Imphal and would travel long distances to learn boxing from Coach K. Kosana Meitei. She left her hometown at the age of 15 to pursue further education in Imphal, where she completed her schooling. She was being questioned by many, but she remained hard and tough as a rock and dedicatedly pursued her practice in the field of boxing. She wanted to be recognised but moreover, she wanted her sports boxing to be recognised and earn that respect like other sports have in India. She wanted to prove to all those garrulous people that boxing is no less than any other sport or profession and even women can rightfully play this sport and do justice to it.

Courtesy: Olympic Channel

Mary Kom won the state boxing championship in 2000, and her parents became aware of her training at that time. They objected at first, but after seeing her prolific output and natural talent, they agreed. Mary dominated the boxing ring for many years but later on decided to focus on her family and raising her two children after her marriage with her husband, Onler. Soon after, rumours circulated that she would not return to the arena, but Mary was certain that her dream for an Olympic medal would not end that way.

Making a Classic Comeback!

Courtesy: Times of India

Mary was determined to make a comeback and prove everyone wrong. She started with her training again and she got the back of her husband too in that. No wonder that she had made a remarkable return in 2010, winning a silver medal at the Asian Women’s Boxing Championships, and went on to add even more medals to her collection, proving to critics and the country that there is a big difference between stepping back and leaving. It was difficult for her to return to her training schedules after having children, but her deep desire to win an Olympic medal for her country India pushed her back to the boxing ring and this time even harder than before.

Chasing the Olympic Medal

Courtesy: Olympic Channel

Mary managed to punch hard at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship in 2012, not only to silence the critics, but also to qualify for the Olympics, as women’s boxing was launched that year, and she was so close to realising her dream of winning an Olympic medal for her country in women’s boxing. She was now walking down the road of her dreams, and she couldn’t believe it was all true for the time being. After defeating Karolina Michalczuk 19-14 in the first round, Mary advanced to the quarter-finals, where she defeated Tunisian Maroua Rahali 15-6 to reach the finals. She not only won India’s first Olympic bronze medal in female boxing, but she also made history by becoming the first Indian woman to compete in the event. Mary is the ideal role model for the younger generation because of her desire to succeed.

Achievements of MC Mary Kom

Mary Kom has managed to set a new benchmark to be one of the few women athletes to be awarded and recognised, both nationally and internationally. Without ever competing in professional boxing, she has set a new norm in amateur boxing. Here are the most important achievements of MC Mary Kom:

International EventsGold Silver Bronze 
Olympic Games 1
World Championships 611
Asian Games 11
Commonwealth Games 1
Asian Championships 51
Total 1323

Awards and Recognitions

Mary Kom
The President, Shri Pranab Mukherjee felicitates Mary Kom
Courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

Mary Kom became the first amateur in India to earn more than most professional athletes in terms of earnings, endorsements, and awards in 2015. She is also the first woman to be awarded the Padma Bhushan award as an amateur athlete and has also been an active Memeber of Parliament (MP) since 2016 as nominated by the former hon’ble President, Mr Pranab Mukherjee. 

Courtesy: Sportzcraazy

She has been honoured and awarded national awards like:

  • Padma Vibhushan (Sports), in 2020
  • Padma Bhushan (Sports), in 2013
  • Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, in 2009
  • Padma Shri (Sports), in 2006
  • Arjuna Award (Boxing), in 2003

Other Awards and Recognitions:

  • Mary Kom has been appointed the brand ambassador for the 2016 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships by the International Boxing Association (AIBA).
  • Awarded the first AIBA Legends award for her “promising boxing career” from the International Boxing Association (AIBA).
  • Limca Book of Records: People of the Year, 2007.
  • In 2008, Pepsi MTV Youth Icon was named.
  • In 2008, AIBA bestowed the title of “Magnificent Mary” to her.
  • Sahara Sports Award for Sportswoman of the Year 2010.
  • On March 29, 2016, he received an honorary doctorate degree (D.Litt) from North-Eastern Hill University, and on January 14, 2019, he received a doctorate degree (DPhil) from Kaziranga University.
Courtesy: NDTV India

Right from kickstarting her journey in boxing to sustaining her career as a mother and wife, the world has made her a fighter, who has not only fought in the ring but has also fought many small and big battles to achieve and be at the position where she is now. She truly justified and proved that, “where there is a will, there is a way”. She has become the first boxer to win 8 World Championship with 6 Gold Medals, 1 Silver Medal and 1 Bronze Medal. Mary Kom is truly a living inspiration for today’s generation and the coming one too. For more such amazing and inspiring reads, stay tuned with Leverage Edu.

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