“We must reject not only the stereotypes that others have of us but also those that we have of ourselves” – Shirley Chisholm
MC Mary Kom is the first woman to qualify for London Olympics and get a Bronze Medal. Born in a small village known as Kangathei in the state of Manipur, her parents used to work as Farm Labourers. From an early age, she had to work and take care of her siblings. Mary Kom attended Christian Model High School up to 6th grade and moved to St. Xavier Catholic School. However, she quit her studies because of failing in some of her exams.
Mary Kom used to participate regularly in the sports competitions which were held in the school. She used to play football, among other games. However in 1998, when the Manipur Boxer Dingko Singh won a Gold Medal in Asian Games, she got a spark in her eyes and decided to become a professional boxer. In the year 2000, she began training under the guidance of M Narjit Singh. His mentorship proved a boon for her as she learned life and social skills through him.
If it’s meant to be, it will be.
Her parents considered that Boxing was way much more for her, as she used to be a young girl and boxing is generally associated with masculinity. Mary Kom didn’t reveal the hobbies and interests she was pursuing, however, her parents came to know about her instincts through a newspaper report which was published after Mary Kom won the Manipur State Boxing Championship in 2000. She further won the Seventh East Indian Boxing Championship which was held in West Bengal.
In the year 2001, she decided to participate in many national and international competitions. The financial disability made it difficult for her to pursue her dreams, but she somehow made sure she didn’t back down. In the same year, she clinched a Bronze in the first-ever World Women Boxing Championship. However, the sadness of not getting Gold propelled her to hustle more and she, in turn, won Gold the next year in the same Championship. There was an era when Mary Kom was feared by the boxers in the nation and the whole world. She held the title of National Women Boxing Champion from the year 2000 to 2005. She won AIBA World Boxing championship thrice in the year 2002, 2005 and 2006. In the year 2008, she won a silver medal at the Asian Women Boxing Championship.
Going through Dilemmas
Even after getting numerous laurels any recognition due to her skills, her financial struggle persisted. The government provided her with some petty job at the Police department. She says that it didn’t ever make her doubt the career choice she made and worked even harder. Her efforts proved fruitful when she won the Women World Boxing Championship in 2006 the third time. This time government had to acknowledge her efforts and she was provided with the job of Inspector in Police Department.
Successful in establishing herself as a recognized boxer, her soul was searching for something more grand; The Olympics. The Women’s Boxing was featured as an Olympic Sport the first time in the year 2012. She had experience participating in 46 or 48 KGs Category; however, she took part in 51 Kg category for the first time and won a Bronze Medal. Her hustles proved fruitful. She got worldwide recognition along with cash prize of 50 Lakh Rupees from Manipur Government among other things. The honor of carrying the Tricolour was given to her.
The Story continues
Her story became an inspiration for millions and a movie based on her life starring Priyanka Chopra was released in the year 2014. She added another laurel to her name, by winning the gold medal in Asian Games held in Incheon, South Korea.
No matter how poor or rich you are, if you have got a true passion which has the potential of creating a mark on the lives of people, you’ll find ways to achieve what you hustle for. Mary Kom still proves to have a true fighter even after being married and having kids, with plenty of responsibilities.
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