Mary Kom – The Champion!
Mary Kom, the simple girl from rural Manipur, is now a top sports icon in India at present. From her humble beginnings, she has come a long way to become the crown jewel of Indian Boxing. She recently won a record 6th Gold Medal in World Boxing Championships, also becoming the only woman boxer to win a medal in each of the seven world championships!
Kom’s father was a keen boxer in his former days. However, Kom had her interest in Athletics, especially in the Javelin throw and in 400 meters running. It was only in 2000 that she switched to boxing on being inspired by the success of a fellow Manipurian and the Bangkok Asian Games 1998 champion, Dingko Singh.
At the age of 15, she left her hometown and moved to Imphal to join the Sports Academy.
With hard work and dedication, she picked up the basics in no time and went on to train under the state’s boxing coach. She started her winning streak in 2002 and went all out to win all seven championships she participated in. She holds the record of being the only woman in the sport’s history to have won the World Amateur Boxing Championship 6 times.
She became the brand ambassador of International Boxing Association in 2009 and the brand ambassador of SFL (Super Fight League) in 2012. The AIBA (Association International de Boxer Amateur) had added her to their league of legends.
Kom married the North Eastern footballer, Karung Onkholer in 2005 and became a mother of twins in 2007. During that time, she took a small break but made a smashing comeback in 2008 with the World Championship win. Kom had her other son in 2013.
She was awarded an Arjuna Award for Boxing in 2003, a Padma Shri for sports in 2006, a Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2009 and a Padma Bhushan for sports in 2013. She was also the Pepsi MTV Youth icon in 2008. She also bagged the Sahara Sportswoman of the Year Award in 2010. Magnificent Mary is also an Animal rights activist and an avid supporter of PETA.
Although she has never won an Olympic Gold, she claimed the Bronze in the London showdown in 2012 and ever since then she has her eyes set on that Olympic Gold with blazing tenacity.
Preparing for the Tokyo Olympics, she procured another top-four place finish. In 2014 she became the only Indian Boxer to have won the Asian Games which were followed by her win in the Asian Women’s Championship in 2017 and the gold in 2018 Commonwealth Games and her grand victory in the AIBA Women’s World Championship 2018 (New Delhi) in which she defeated Hanna Okhota of Ukraine 5-0 in the light flyweight category.
In an interview with Times Now, Mary said: “I had dreamt of winning the 6th title and that is why I got so emotional when I won it,”.
With the 6th Championship win, she created history by becoming the only woman in the history of the sport to have won 6 gold medals in AIBA World Boxing Championships and equalled the medal haul of the Cuban legend Félix Savón. Her position is right at the top on the list of the world’s best boxers these days.
Who would have thought a simple girl from rural India would one day be on top of the world ruling the hearts and the charts.