Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom OLY, famously known as Mary Kom, is a famous Indian boxer and an incumbent member of the Parliament of India. Mary Kom is an amateur boxer by profession and has also joined politics in recent times. Mary Kom, who is nicknamed Magnificent Mary, is one of the most renowned sports personalities of India and the world. The story of Mary Kom is always an inspiration for all those who are facing a struggle in their profession (especially sports), and they can learn how they can overcome all these problems to achieve success in their life.
Mary Kom: an Introduction
Mary Kom, who is popularly known as Magnificent Mary because of many magnificent performances during highly anticipated matches, was born on 24th November 1992 in a small village of Kangathei, Manipur, India. The full name of Mary Kom is Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom OLY, but she is popularly known as Mary Kom in short. Mary Kom, who is currently an incumbent member of Parliament of India, is a famous Indian amateur boxer and politician as well. Mary Kom has achieved many things in her boxing career at a very young age, and she is the only female boxer who was qualified for the summer Olympics of 2012 held in London. Mary Kom was the only female boxer from India who was qualified for competing in the 51KG flyweight category, and she also won a bronze medal for India in this category. Apart from this, Mary Kom is the only woman in the history of boxing championships who have won a medal in each of her first seven world championships, and also the World Amateur Boxing Championship title six times (maximum by any woman). Also, she is the only person in the history of boxing who have won eight championship medals (including both men's and women's championships).
Mary Kom was also ranked as Number 1 by the International Boxing Association (amateur), popularly known as AIBA in short, in the light-flyweight category. Mary Kom is the first Indian female boxer to win a gold medal in any Commonwealth games (2018 Commonwealth Games), and also the first Indian female sportsperson who managed to fetch a gold medal in any Asian games (Asian Games in 2014 at Incheon, South Korea). Mary Kom has also won the gold medal in the President cup held in Indonesia under the 51 kg female boxer category, and she is the only boxer who is the record six times Asian Amateur Boxing Champion.
The current president of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, nominated Mary Kom as an honourable member of Rajya Shabha (which is known as the upper house of Indian Parliament) on April 25, 2016. One year after she was nominated as the member of Rajya Shabha by the Indian president, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India, appointed Mary Kom and Akhil Kumar as the national observers for the development of Indian boxing. The government of Manipur (Hometown of Mary Kom) on 11 December 2018, awarded Mary Kom with the title of "Meethoi Leima" (which can be roughly translated to as exceptional or greatest lady) in a felicitation ceremony held in one of the prestigious centres after she won the world title for the sixth time in the same year. After she won the medal again in the World Championships held in 2019, Mary Kom became the most successful boxer globally in all the world championships. For this prestigious occasion, it was declared that the long stretch of road which leads to the National Game Village (where Mary Kom currently resides with her family) in the Imphal West district was renamed as the MC Mary Kom Highway by the then Chief Minister of Manipur at an ongoing ceremonial function in Imphal. She is also awarded the Padma Vibhushan award (which is the second-highest civilian award of India) in the year 2020.
Mary Kom: Early Life
Family and Childhood
Mary Kom, whose full name is Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom OLY, was born in a small village (Kagathei village, Moirang Lamkhai) of the rural part of the Churachandpur district of Manipur in India. Mary Kom, who is one of the renowned personalities of India in today's time, belong to a poor or lower-middle-class family of Kom. The name of the parents of Mary Kom is Mangte Tonpa Kom and Mangte Akham Kom, and they were tenant farmers (it means that they were farming in the land owned by someone else) who used to work in the Jhumpa fields of Manipur. Mary Kom used to help her parents in their farming and farm-related chores, and she grew up in very humble surroundings that played a very crucial role in her overall behavioural development. In her childhood or initial days, the daily routine of Mary Kom includes going to school, then helping her parents with the farm-related chores, and after that learning athletics initially but later she started learning boxing simultaneously. Mary Kom belongs to a family of five, including her parents and two younger siblings (she is the eldest among all the three siblings). The father of Mary Kom was a keen wrestler in his younger days, and this was also a reason that he always supported and motivated her to participate more actively in athletics and boxing. Mary Kom, who hails from a Christian Baptist family, has a younger sister and a younger brother.
Mary Kom changed many schools during her schooling because of many reasons, including economical & financial reasons. The first school she attended was the Loktak Christian Model High School which was situated at Moirang, and in this school, she studied up to sixth standard. After that, she studied in the St. Xavier Catholic School, which was also situated in Moirang, till 8th standard and then, she again switched the school. During her schooling in the St. Xavier Catholic School, Mary Kom developed a great interest in sports and athletics, especially in the 400 metres running and javelin. At this juncture of time, a fellow renowned sportsperson from the Manipur, Dingko Singh (one of the most famous Boxers from India), returned with a gold medal from the Bangkok Asian games. Mary Kom recollects from her memory that this was a really big moment for all the Manipuris, and it inspired the young children, including her, to participate more actively and look for a career in Boxing. Because of the popularity of Dingko Singh, Mary Kom decided that she would also give a try to Boxing apart from her regular athletics practice classes.
When Mary Kom passed her examinations of 8th standard from the St. Xavier Catholic School, she moved to Adimjati High School, which is located in Imphal, for her further schooling of 9th and 10th class. Mary Kom joined the school, and it was all okay till the 9th standard in the Adimjati High School, but in 10th standard, it became very hard for her to focus simultaneously on her boxing and her board examinations. Mary Kom became so much indulged in boxing that she had no time left in her day to study for her board examinations, and that's why Mary Kom failed in her matriculation board examinations. After being unable to clear the board examinations of 10th, Mary Kom decided that she would reappear in the matriculation exams in the upcoming year too, and for that, she quit her school and gave her examinations from the NIOS board of Imphal. Later, Mary Kom joined the Churachandpur College for higher studies and completed her graduation from the same.
During her schooling, Mary Kom participated in all types of sports (including volleyball, football and athletics) and sporting events held in her school, but it was only the success of Dingko Singh in the Olympics which inspired Mary Kom to become more indulged in the boxing. Truly and completely inspired by the success of Dingko Singh and the developing interest of Mary Kom in boxing, she completely switched her focus from athletics to Boxing to pursue her career in Boxing only. For making a career in Boxing, she started to take boxing classes and training under her first coach K Kosana Meitei in Imphal only. To focus more on her boxing and make a career in sports, Mary Kom decided to leave her home and stay in Imphal at the Imphal sports academy when she was only 15. Meitei, the first coach of Mary Kom, said during an interview with BBC that she remembers Mary Kom as a completely dedicated girl towards her boxing career and a girl who have the strong willpower to learn everything in any situation. He also included that Mary Kom was his one of the very few students who picked up the basics of boxing very quickly.
After completion of her training under the K Kosana Meitei, Mary Kom then started training under the M Narjit Singh (who was the state boxing coach at that time) at Khuman Lampak. For many years, Mary Kom kept her keen interest in boxing hidden from her father (who himself was an ex-wrestler) because it would only make him more concerned for her. The major concern for her father with her actively participating in Boxing was that this sport has a high chance of damaging her face that will ultimately ruin her chances of getting married. But this truth had not remained hidden from her father for a very long time, as her father saw a picture of her in the newspaper when she won the state boxing championship in 2000, and that's how he came to know about how actively Mary Kom is participating in Boxing only. This led to many conflicts between her and her father, but these conflicts sorted out in a couple of years, and her father started supporting Kom's pursuits in Boxing after three years of knowing the truth as she made him convince for her love for Boxing.
Mary Kom: Career
Early Professional Life
Mary Kom, who fell in love with Karong Onkholer Koms (a famous state-level footballer) and started dating him in 2000, got married to him in the year 2004. After her marriage in 2004, Mary Kom decided to take a break from her boxing career and took a short hiatus from it. Then the couple had their first child (twins) in the upcoming years, and after the delivery of her first child, Mary Kom decided that she would again start to concentrate on her career. In 2007, the couple mutually decided that Mary Kom would start her training again, and the children's father would take care of the babies. Mary Kom, after successful completion of her training, made a comeback in the national team and won a silver medal at the 2008 Asian Women's Boxing Championship in India. Apart from this, Mary Kom also won her fourth consecutive gold medal in AIBA Women's World Boxing Championship held in 2008 in Beijing, China. Mary Kom not stopped here and won another gold medal in the next year as well (in 2009) at the Indoor Asian Games held in Vietnam. She again won one more gold medal in the next year itself as well (in 2010) at the Asian Women's Boxing Championship held in Kazakhstan. In the same year, 2010, Mary Kom was able to win one more gold medal at the AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships of 2010 held in Barbados, West Indies, and this was her fifth consecutive gold medal in this championship level. After AIBA dropped Mary Kom's name from the 46 KG boxing category in 2010, she participated under the 48 KG Boxing category in the 2010 AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships of Barbados. Later, AIBA itself stopped using the 46 KG category for the boxing championships.
Championships and Medals
Mary Kom participated under the 51 KG class in the Asian Games of 2010, and she was also able to win a bronze medal in this championship. In the next year, she participated in the 2011 Asia's Women World Championships held in China under the 48 KG category, and she also managed to win a gold medal in this championship. She was honoured as the honour of bearing the Queen's Baton along with Harshit Jain and Sanjay in the opening ceremony run in the stadium on October 3, 2010, at the Commonwealth Games of 2010 that was held in New Delhi, India. However, Mary Kom did not compete in the Commonwealth Games of 2010 for the women's boxing championship. On October 1st, 2014, she managed to win her first gold medal in the boxing championship under the Asian Games of 2014, which was held in Incheon, South Korea. Mary Kom managed to do this wonder by beating the Zhaina Shekerbekova from Kazakhstan in the flyweight summit clash under the 51KG class.
Mary Kom added one more gold medal in her bag by winning the unprecedented fifth consecutive gold medal at the ASBC's (Asian Boxing Confederation) women's boxing championship, held at Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam while competing under the 48 KG class on November 8th, 2017. Till this time, Commonwealth Games was the only major event where Mary Kom was not able to win a single medal, and the reason behind this was that the flyweight category in which she usually competed, was not included in the Commonwealth Games yet. In the year 2018, the flyweight category was also included in the Commonwealth Games of the year, and there, Mary Kom was able to manage the gold medal gracefully in the Commonwealth Games also while competing under the 48 KG class category in women's light flyweight on April 14th, 2018. Mary Kom created one more world record and a history in itself in the year 2018 when she won her 6th world championship. In 2018, Mary Kom won a gold medal and AIBA women's world championships of 2018 on 24th November, and that's how she created history. She became the first and only boxer (including both male and female boxers) who managed to win 6 world championships by achieving this feat at the 10th AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships held in New Delhi, India.
One more recognition added to the career of Mary Kom when she was declared by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in the year 2019 as the female representative of boxing's athlete ambassador group for the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics (that was actually held in 2021) of Tokyo International games that were held in Tokyo, Japan. Mary Kom was also scheduled to compete in Spain for the Boxam International tournament held on March 2021 in Spain. In the next Asian Games where Mary Kom competed, she managed to win her 7th medal in the women's boxing championship held under Asian Games. In these Asian Games, she lost in the women's boxing championship final to Nazym Kazaibay of Kazakhstan, the competitor against whom she managed to win her first gold medal at the same tournament held in 2003. Mary Kom only managed to win a bronze medal in the Asian Boxing Championships in 2012 as the 6-time world champion lost to China's Chang Yuan in the Asian Boxing Qualifying semi-final.
Mary Kom: Achievements, Awards, and Recognition
Mary Kom not only became the most renowned Indian personality in boxing, but she also set some new standards in amateur boxing for all those youngsters who are aspiring to make a career in boxing. She has achieved many big feats and has earned many awards in her career, including many major awards like Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibushna Award. She also became the first amateur boxer who have surpassed many professional Indian athletes from other popular sports in terms of awards, endorsements, popularity, and earnings as well. Mary Kom is also the first and only Indian amateur boxer who managed to be nominated and won the Padma Bhushan. There are many national as well as other major awards won by her, and there is a long list of all other awards she has won during her boxing career. Following is the list of national as well as some other major awards and achievements earned by Mary Kom during her complete boxing career:
Mary Kom: Popularity and Media
The autobiography of Mary Kom, which was named Unbreakable, was published by Harper Collins in the late half of 2013, and this autobiography of her was also co-authored by Dina Serto. A 2014 Bollywood film, Mary Kom, which displayed the life story of Mary Kom and turnaround events that happened in her life, was directed by Omung Kumar, and Priyanka Chopra portrayed the role of Mary Kom in this movie. This Bollywood film Mary Kom was released on September 5th, 2014, and this movie played a big role in the further recognition of Mary Kom among the common people of India. The Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, a book that displays short stories about women and includes women as the role model of children in its stories, also has an entry of Mary Kom as the role model with a short story on her. With this ring, the documentary of 2016 also featured Mary Kom with a cameo role in documentary. This documentary of 2016 revolves around the experiences of Indian women across the course of six years (starting from 2006) for the opportunities and challenges they have faced as in India's women's boxing team.
Mary Kom: Personal Life
Karung Onkholer (pronounced as Onler), who is the husband of Mary Kom currently, first met with her in the year 2000. Mary Kom met him in 2000 while she was travelling to Bangalore from New Delhi. It was very interesting behind their first meet where Mary Kom lost her luggage during her journey to Bangalore from New Delhi via train, and while searching for her luggage, she met him who helped her during the situation and helped her to find her luggage. When Mary Kom first met with Karung Onkholer, he was studying law in the Law college of the University of Delhi and a footballer by passion. Onkholer was the president of the North East students' group of Delhi University as well as other universities' northeast students residing in Delhi, and she helped Mary Kom until they managed to find her luggage. During this meeting, Mary Kom and Karung Onkholer became really good friends who stayed in touch even after this incident. Mary Kom started dating Karung Onkholer in the year 2000 itself, and they dated around 4 years before getting married to each other in the year 2005. After two years of their marriage, they had twins as their first child (both sons) in 2007, and they were blessed with another son in the year 2013. Together they have three sons and a daughter, a girl who was adopted by the couple in 2018, and they named her Merilyn.
Mary Kom: Social Cause Association
Mary Kom, even though belongs to the North-eastern part of India, a part of India which is considered as the residence of most carnivorous and herbivores people, she is an animal rights activist and even supports the cause of PETA (the full name of PETA is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). She always participated in the movements and reforms caused for animal and environmental rights, and these movements gave her a unique identity even as a North-eastern. Mary Kom also starred in an ad where she called for an end to the use of elephants in circuses, and that's how she was then supporting the cause of PETA, India. While supporting this cause of PETA, India, Mary Kom also spoke openly in media that Circuses are no place to be enjoyed by seeing animals doing activities on the direction of Hunter of their master, and this action makes Circuses one of the cruellest places in the world where animals are beaten and tortured by humans to earn money. She also added that as a mother, I could feel that with what pain and sadness these animals went through when their children were taken away from them by those monsters who own the Circuses just for their greed and fun of the people. It is very sad that we can't do anything against these Circuses and for the animals who are trapped inside these Circuses.
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