Mary Kom: An “Unbreakable” Soul of India

Mary Kom: An “Unbreakable” Soul of India
Indian Boxer Mark Kom
Mary Kom: An “Unbreakable” Soul of India
Indian Boxer Mark Kom

“Magnificient Mary”, the ace boxing champion of India, is all set to become the most successful boxer in the history of Women’s World Championship. On October 10, 2019, MC Mary Kom secured her 8th world medal win at AIBA World Boxing Championships. She defeated Colombia’s Ingrit Valencia (Rio Olympics bronze medalist) with a clean 5-0 verdict at the 51 Kg category.

After her win, the 36-year-old Mary said that it was a good bout, and she is “very happy to have secured a medal”. She pledged “to improve on this performance in the semifinals” and would try “to make it better by reaching the finals.” She is going to face-off with the reigning European Championships and European Games gold-medalist Turk Busenaz Cakiroglu (2nd seeded) on Saturday (October 12, 2019).

Wishing her success for the bout, let’s check some interesting facts about Mary Kom and how she became one of the most successful women boxers in the world.

11 Interesting Facts about Mary Kom

1. Her real name is Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom. She was born to a low-income family in Manipur. Both her father and mother were tenant farmers. Mary has two siblings: a younger brother and sister.

2. She was a keen athlete (400 m running and javelin throwing) from her school days. Dingko Singh’s success and his gold medal win in the 1998 Bangkok Asian games inspired Mary Kom and many other youngsters in Manipur. That’s when she started taking boxing seriously and ultimately shifted her focus in 2000 to boxing.

3. Mary Kom even struggled to get enough food required for burning vast amounts of energy during practice.

4. K. Kosana Meitei was her first coach in Imphal (the capital city of Manipur). In a BBC interview, her first coach remembered her as a hardworking person having a strong will-power. As she progressed, Mary started training under Manipur State Boxing Coach M. Narjit Singh. Her father (an ex-wrestler himself) came to know about her love for boxing in 2000 when her photo was published in a local newspaper after her state boxing championship win.

5. Mary is perhaps the only sportsperson in the history of sports world over to have been nicknamed by the International Amateur Boxing Association. The association nicknamed her “Magnificent Mary” in 2007 by acknowledging her contribution to igniting interest among women in boxing.

6. She took a short break after getting married to her boyfriend, Karong Onkholer Kom, but started training again after becoming a mother of twins in 2007. She again became a mother in 2013. Onkholer and Mary have three sons.

7. Even after her success, she hasn’t forgotten either her roots or her social responsibilities. Mary provides free training to unprivileged girls in her Imphal-based Kom Boxing Academy.

8. After her success in the 2012 AIBA championship, Mary became the only woman boxer from India to participate in the London Olympics. She is also the only Indian woman boxer to win a bronze medal at the Olympics.

9. Title of M.C. Mary Kom’s autobiography is “Unbreakable” (co-authored by Dina Serto), perfectly matching her spirit and struggle to progress.

10. A biographical film in Hindi-language on the life of Mary Kom was released in 2014 with Priyanka Chopra portraying Kom. This biographical sports film from Bollywood was a commercial success and also became one of the highest-grossing Indian films starring a female actor. It went on to win National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment.

11. Mary Kom is an animal rights activist, who believes “One of the best ways to knock out cruelty to animals is to teach compassion to young people.”

Mary Kom’s Achievements

International Titles

Mary Kom has won AIBA Women’s World Championships 6 times (in the years 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2018). She won a silver medal in AIBA Women’s World Championships in 2001. Till now, she has won 7 medals in AIBA Women’s World Championships and in 2019 she is going to win her 8th medal.

She has won Asian Women’s Championships 5 times (in the years 2003, 2005, 2010, 2012, and 2017) and silver once (2008).

At Asian Games, she won gold in 2014 and a bronze in 2010.

Mary’s other international titles are gold medals in Witch Cup 2002, Women’s World Cup 2004, Venus Women’s Box Cup 2006, Asian Indoor Games 2009, Asian Women’s Cup 2011, Commonwealth Games 2018.

She won a bronze in London 2012 Summer Olympics.

Notable Awards & Recognitions

Padma Bhushan (Sports), 2013
Arjuna Award (Boxing), 2003
Padma Shri (Sports), 2006
Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, 2009
International Boxing Association’s Ambassador for Women’s Boxing 2009
Olympians for Life by WOA