Mary Kom, the face of Indian women’s boxing, won an emphatic victory at
the Tokyo Olympics 2020 on Sunday. Kom defeated Dominica’s Miguelina Hernandez in the Women’s Fly
(48kg-51kg) preliminary round-of-32.
The indomitable boxer
has spent over two decades in the ring but still hungers for victory. A
five-time world champion and an Olympic bronze medallist, Mary Kom’s story
inspires every woman sportsperson in the country.
“Every medal I have won
is a story of a difficult struggle,” Mary Kom had said in an interview to PTI back
in 2017 after she had become the first boxer to claim five gold medals at the
continental meet in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
Besides being one of
the best boxers in the world, Mary Kom is also a sitting Rajya Sabha MP, a
government observer for boxing in the country and a “very busy” mother to her
“I have been an active MP;
I am attending Parliament regularly…I have been juggling so may roles. I am a
mother too; I have three sons to take care of. I don’t even know how I manage
to pull it off sometimes,” she added.
Kom was born in
Kangathei village in Moirang Lamkhai in Churachandrapur district of rural
Manipur in India. Her parents were tenant farmers. Kom grew up helping her
parents with farm related chores, going to school and learning athletics
initially and later boxing simultaneously.
It was Manipuri boxer
Dingo Singh’s gold win at the 1998 Asian Games that inspired Mary Kom to take
up boxing proper. Still taking up a sport considered ‘masculine’ by social standards
was no easy task for the young tribal girl. But Mary Kom’s indomitable spirit
drew her through.
Kom’s first win came in
2000 when she won the Best Boxer Award at the first state level invitation at
the women’s boxing championship in Manipur. After that, she proceeded to with
the gold in the Seventh India Women’s Boxing Championship in West Bengal.
Between 2001 and 2006,
she won the AIBA World Boxing Championship thrice in 2002, 2005 and 2006.
Mary Kom was awarded
the Padma Shri in 2010 and the Padma Bhushan in 2013 for her immense
contribution to sports.