MC Mary Kom, also known as ‘Magnificent Mary’ is a well-known Olympic Indian boxer. She was born on March 1st, 1983 at Kangathei village, Churachanpur district of Manipur. She lived with her parents, younger sister and brother in the village of Manipur. Mary belonged to a very poor family. Her parents earned their living by working as tenant farmers in jhum fields – a form of slash and burn cultivation. She grew in a humble surrounding and was the eldest of all kids, so she helped her parents by working with them in the fields.
Mary struggled through all hardships and problems, but finally achieved a name in the world of boxing. She is a five time World Amateur Boxing champion, and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships. Mary Kom was inspired by Dingko Singh, native of Manipur who won gold medal in 1998 Bangkok Asian games and women boxers at the 5th National Games, Manipur.
Mary had a keen interest in sports during her school days. She played all types of sports including javelin, running, volleyball, football and athletics. She thought that one day she would become a good athlete. But fate had something else stored for her. Success of Dingko Singh inspired her to switch from athletics to boxing in the year 2000. She enquired about boxing and found out women boxing which wasn’t popular in those days. At the age of 15, she decided to study at the Sports academy in Imphal, Manipur. She traveled to Imphal and requested the coach M. Narjit Singh to train her. M. Narjit Singh who was the then Manipur state boxing coach didn’t mind training such a talent.
Mary was a very strong girl with great determination. With her great dedication and will power she won the state boxing championship in Manipur and won the gold in the Seventh East India Women’s Boxing Championship held in West Bengal. From the age of 18, she made her first international debut and after that she won numerous medals and honors.
- 2001-Silver medal at the first AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship in United States.
- 2002-Gold medal at the second AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship in Turkey, the Witch Cup in Hungary.
- 2003-Gold medal at the Asian Women’s Boxing Championship in India.
- 2005- Gold medal at the Asian Women’s Boxing Championship in Taiwan, the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship in Russia.
- 2006-Gold medal at the Venus Women’s Box Cup in Denmark, the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship in India.
- 2008- Silver medal at the Asian Women’s Boxing Championship held in India, 4th successive Gold medal at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship in China.
- 2009-Gold medal at the Asian Indoor Games in Vietnam.
- 2010-Gold medal at the Asian Women’s Boxing Championship in Kazakhstan, 5th consecutive Gold medal in the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship in Barbados, Bronze medal at the Asian Games.
- 2011- Gold medal at the Asian Women’s Cup in China.
- 2012- Gold medal at the Asian Women’s Boxing Championship in Mongolia, Bronze medal at London Olympics.
- 2014- Her first Gold medal at the Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea.
Mary had the honor of holding the Queen’s Baton in the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in Delhi, India along with Vijender Singh. The opening ceremony run in the stadium was performed by them with great honor. As women’s boxing event wasn’t included in the commonwealth games, she did not compete.
Mary Kom’s autobiography named ‘Unbreakable’ was co-authored by Dina Serto and published by HarperCollins in 2013.
In 2014, “Mary Kom” a biographical sports film about the life of Mary Kom was released, directed by Omung Kumar and produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, starring Priyanka Chopra in the lead role as a boxer. Mary Kom received several compliments and tributes at award ceremonies across India.
Mary had the privilege to receive the Arjuna Award in Boxing in 2003, Padma Shree in 2006, and Padma Bhushan in 2013. The International Boxing Association (AIBA) announced her as the brand ambassador for 2016 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. She is preparing for the 2020 Olympics as she was not able to qualify for 2016 Rio Olympics. Mary Kom was nominated by the President of India as a member of the Rajya Sabha, on 26th April 2016.
Mary is a strong supporter of PETA India and also supports the underprivileged youth to learn boxing as a sport in Manipur and other parts North East India. She founded the ‘Mary Kom Regional Boxing Foundation’ in Manipur in 2006.
Mary, who is mother of three sons, has always made India proud with her magnificent achievements and several awards not just in India but also globally. Her hard work and determination towards her goal is often seen in the boxing ring. She is not only dedicated towards her work but also knows the duty of a mother and wife and that is what makes her so special. She is a real inspiration to all the women who want to achieve their dreams.