TODAY -

India's Magnificent Mary has Olympic gold in sight
Source: The Sangai Express / Agencies

Imphal, June 21 2012: At a remote, hillside academy in the far-flung fringes of the country, one of India's best shots at an Olympic gold medal takes a breather from her own training to trade punches with some students.

Mother-of-two Mary Kom, otherwise known here as 'Magnificent Mary,' is under all kinds of pressure while aiming, as she is, at winning one of the first Olympic medals ever awarded in women's boxing.

A five-time world champion, she has spent time in recent weeks in the nonprofit academy she established to work with promising young boxers.

The scene is typical.

A dozen young boxers ignore persistent drizzle to work out with the woman they call Madame Mary.

They take instructions even as she stretches and loosens her limbs to prepare herself for the session.

At one point, Mary Kom issues a few instructions and then darts off to say goodbye to her twin five-year-old sons, Rengpa and Naimai, as they leave for school.

She barely has time to pat her two mixed-breed dogs, Bruny and Dolly, on the way back before returning to the rigors of a boxer's routine.

As well as being mother, wife, mentor and motivator, she works in some grueling training for herself with coach Charles Atkinson, saying the sessions have helped improve her fitness and technique.

Reporters have gathered at the training camp to get an insight into Mary Kom's daily routine, but she doesn't have the time or the inclination to answer questions on this particular day.

Her recurring line: "I'm at my best right now and the Olympics are my biggest dream" .

Already it has been a long journey from her impoverished beginnings in Manipur, a troubled northeastern province which borders Myanmar and was annexed by India in 1949 .

The 29-yr-old Mary Kom is praised on TV documentaries, on local news media and internet blogs for encapsulating the essence of women from her region.

A gentle, motherly figure out of the ring, with a lavish ponytail and a penchant for colourful fabrics, she's tenacious once she puts on the gloves.

Often she has to spar against male boxers, and considers it good training for the London Games, where she's stepping up a weight to compete because only three women's divisions are being contested.

Mary Kom won four of her world titles in the 46-kilogram category and one at 48 kilograms.

But she will have to contend with the top names in the 51-kilogram category in London, including two-time world champion Cancan Ren of China and Nicola Adams of Britain.

"I need to improve on all aspects.

I have to work out more and I have to improve mentally.

I have seen a lot of videos of my rivals and analyzed them a lot," Mary Kom said after a quarterfinal loss to Adams at the world championships in China last month a defeat which put her Olympic dream in doubt for a while.

She wound up earning a spot at the Olympics due to her continental ranking and says she hasn't been deterred by that foray into the heavier division.

The bible story of David and Goliath, she says, is something she likes to apply to her boxing.

Mary Kom is the eldest of four siblings she has two sisters and a brother.

As a young child she worked in the fields to help her parents and also took care of her siblings before leaving home to go away to school when she was 15, lured by the prospect of achieving something in track and field.

That move somehow led her into boxing, with her original coaches remembering her as a rakish girl arriving in ragged clothes but always with enormous will.

She didn't initially tell her family about the boxing and, even when she did, her father warned her that she might get injured and it could ruin her prospects for marriage.

Those fears have been unfounded.

Her husband is among her biggest supporters, something she attributes to being able to remain committed to the sport.

"As a mother, it is very difficult to stay away from my two sons ...

But I am glad to have a supporting husband like Onler, who takes care of them in my absence and has been the pillar of my strength," she was recently quoted as saying.

For someone whose aim was just to land a decent job, Mary Kom's success has already exceeded expectations.

The state government has given her the grade of an honorary Assistant Superintendent of Police, she has received numerous cash awards over the years and has enough sponsorship and endorsements to support her extended family.

Mary Kom was one of six brand ambassadors for the 2010 Commonwealth Games along with male boxer Vijender Singh despite the fact women's boxing was not on the program in New Delhi.

Both were also named as brand ambassadors this month for a leading face cream, a rarity in a country where cricketers hog most endorsements.

At an event in Mumbai to mark the 50-day countdown to the London Games, Mary Kom answered questions about her Olympic campaign in comments reported in the local media.

"It is obvious that people will expect a medal from me," she said.

"Also, this is the first time women's boxing is included at Olympics, so I want to create history and make my country proud" .

After her tough time at the last world championships, Mary Kom is expecting more of herself in London.

"I was shattered when I lost in the quarterfinals My dream of competing in the Olympics almost came to an end," she said.

"Winning and losing is part of the game, but I didn't expect that loss to come at such a crucial time.

But when I learnt that I have qualified for London, I was blank for a moment.

Pressure at the Olympics will be lesser compared with the qualification tournament" .

The profile of boxing here has soared since India won a bronze at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and a few more medals in London might make it the most followed Olympic sport in a country where field hockey has long held that status.

Singh won the medal in the 75-kilogram category and since it came along with another bronze won by Sushil Kumar in wrestling and the country's first ever individual gold through rifle shooter Abhinav Bindra, it also helped up the stake of Olympic disciplines in this medal-starved country of 1.2 billion.

"I feel all eight of our boxers have a realistic chance of winning medals and further boost the sport in the country," Indian Boxing Federation secretary-general Muralidharan Raja told The Associated Press.

Raja hopes any success in London will help promote boxing in India as a fitness sport.

"People could take to boxing as a non-contact sport.

It could be instilled at the junior levels to improve health and grace in individuals with athletes only practicing its movements without sparring," he said.

"There is tremendous potential for boxing in the country as we will see after the Olympics and we are all ready to tap it" .


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Puya Awareness / Exhibition :: Gallery
  • February Calendar for Year 2023 : Tools
  • COVID-19 Status 30 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Dealing with peer pressure: Tips for student
  • The inspiration to choose right
  • Sholas of Ootacamund
  • Critical analysis of reservation system
  • COVID-19 : Impact in Manipur :: News Timeline
  • Manipur favourite destination for refugees
  • Disturbing call from Lamlongei
  • 74th Republic Day @ Kangla #1 :: Gallery
  • Whither women's reproductive health in Asia
  • COVID-19 Status 29 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Primary Health Center (PHC) at Tamei
  • Center Manager @ Imphal
  • IT Advance Trainer @ Imphal
  • Mealybugs & their biological control in NE
  • Namesake varsities exploiting education
  • Already 30 days into 2023
  • My Memories of Imphal #8 : Download
  • MaolKeki Foundation celebrates 5th Anniv
  • COVID-19 Status 28 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • As a war rages...
  • Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose #2
  • Wakhal Eronba (Leela) #2 :: Gallery
  • Echoes of Higher Education in Manipur
  • COVID-19 Status 27 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • National Tourism Day 2023
  • Multi-State Cooperative Seed Society
  • The Mute Tree :: Poem
  • Artificial Intelligence Weapons, World at risk
  • Axe falls on 5 as anti-drug drive intensifies
  • Imphal-Ukhrul road stretch
  • Barak Festival & Dam Plans: Contradictions
  • Sangai Fest: Thang Ta :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 26 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Metamorphosis: 2023, Naga CM not need ...
  • History of Diabetes
  • Green Chemistry, for a sustainable world #2
  • Mr Imphal East Body Building :: Gallery
  • Taibang Keithel (2018) :: Review
  • Seiboi Singsit: Top achiever in Forest Dept
  • A Legal Discussion on "Frontier Nagaland"
  • Netaji & Dattatreya Hosabale
  • Thirukkural, the universal scripture
  • Perennial boundary row
  • Growing traffic congestion in Imphal
  • Support of all essential to win war on drugs
  • NH-102, part of Indo-Burma Road :: Gallery
  • Transforming education for Govt schools
  • COVID-19 Status 24 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Crying foul of officials of Forest Dept
  • Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose #1
  • Fish stock manipulation techniques #2
  • Workplace mental health matters
  • Education : Outside Manipur, why ?
  • Hand over case to CBI demand
  • Ibudhou Thangjing Lai Haraoba #7 :: Gallery
  • Swiss Artist in Manipur
  • Deepika Mayanglambam: Netaji Bose Award
  • COVID-19 Status 23 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Yes to: "Nagas Are Moving Ahead"
  • 4th Plenary Session of World Meetei Council
  • Tips for preventing cold weather acne
  • No time for verbal spat over drug issue
  • Louroi Festival @ Khurai #2 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 22 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Green Chemistry, for a sustainable world #1
  • Avatar of God :: Poem
  • ABHM appoints President for Northeast
  • A journey towards knowing ourselves
  • Follow up action - dismissal from service
  • More than half a century of Statehood
  • My Memories of Imphal #7 : Download
  • Tanthapolis Cinema at Sanakeithel
  • Nagas are moving ahead : A Commentary
  • COVID-19 Status 21 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Vermi with aquaculture for farmer's income
  • The shameful game behind the games
  • Sangai Fest: Basanta Raas #1 :: Gallery
  • My fear for Manipuri Khorirol
  • COVID-19 Status 20 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • 50 years of NS films to be observed
  • Time to use election to defeat Status quoists
  • Courage Begets Crown :: Poem
  • RSS, Mohan Bhagwat's mind
  • Healthcare sector in hills on Govt radar
  • Bringing home the spirit of the WC
  • Tributes to Oja Naba Wareppa :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 19 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Mishti Doi : Kolkata Diary
  • Fish stock manipulation techniques #1
  • Vibrant border villages: A 'game changer'
  • Keep your hands soft and smooth this winter
  • Success tale of Phalee village
  • Drugs and poppy in dry Manipur
  • Fish Fair @Hapta Kangjeibung #2 :: Gallery
  • The Sangai Film Festival, 2022
  • COVID-19 Status 18 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Missionaries left enduring righteousness
  • Transaction of budget & financial business
  • Reliance Foundation Youth Sports concluded
  • Improved highways perilous for rule resisters
  • An unlikely ally for ATSUM
  • Nupilan & its impact in Manipuri society
  • Romi Meitei's Eikhoigi Yum :: Review
  • COVID-19 Status 17 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Selected Screen Projects for Screen Lab
  • Moirang & Port Blair in freedom struggle #2
  • National Lok Adalat at Lamphelpat
  • 33rd Phek Area Sports Association Meet
  • Indian Army as a career choice
  • Multiple hurdles in battling drug menace
  • A process dating back to 1997
  • Louroi Festival @ Khurai #1 :: Gallery
  • South East Asian in performing art
  • COVID-19 Status 16 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • BINER 2.0 @Manipur Tech Innovation hub
  • Frontier Nagaland- Marching toward Solution
  • Are our life predetermined by a higher power
  • The 108 Divya Desam Temples
  • Water crisis here to stay
  • Beyond arresting the 5 cops
  • 29th Imphal Book Fair Jan 15 2023 :: Gallery
  • 'Yumpham yaodaba / khudam leitaba wafamni'
  • Capacity Building program at Moreh
  • Health Technology : Can it solve health issues
  • A Sternly Life :: Poem
  • Sukrunye, festival of Chakhesang at Phek
  • Empowering through sex education #2
  • 'War on drugs' campaign winnable...
  • Second edition of the War on Drugs
  • My Memories of Imphal #6 : Download
  • Huidrom Nageshwar: Expedition to Antarctica
  • NNPG and NSCN joint statement
  • COVID-19 Status 14 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • The Village Playground :: Poem
  • Diabetes treatment beyond medications
  • TN CM Stalin out to prove good politics...
  • Yaoshang Thabal competition #3 :: Gallery
  • 'Champions of Film Heritage Award'
  • COVID-19 Status 13 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • BIG grant, Ideation to Proof of concept
  • Amit Shah poses teasers for Naga leaders
  • State delimitation & gerrymandering
  • Nail care in Winters
  • Half-hearted upgrade of DM University
  • Prohibition lifted, now what ?
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #2 :: Gallery
  • Around the famous Loktak Lake!
  • Moirang & Port Blair in freedom struggle #1
  • COVID-19 Status 12 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • NE India Launchpad 2.0 program
  • L Tonthoi: Best Female Actor @ GIFC
  • World Climate 2022, an overview
  • Drying up of Singda dam water fallout...
  • Shiv Sena: Hitting the right button
  • Nupilal Ningshing Lamjel #4 :: Gallery
  • COVID-19 Status 11 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Frontier Nagaland Movement- a better world
  • An introduction to Manipuri Vaishnavism #2
  • Buried Deep :: Poem
  • Empowering through sex education #1
  • Robert Memorial Badminton at Senapati
  • Firearms in the hands of reckless denizen
  • Lessons from the past
  • State Level Gaan Ngai #2 :: Gallery
  • Ima Savitri - Documentary film : Review
  • COVID-19 Status 10 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • 'Chahi Taret Khuntakpa' at Cachar
  • Emerging Manipur peace, prosperity @growth
  • State of the States 2022: Manipur on top
  • War on Drugs mission far from being over
  • Of Leikhom, Leinang & Uphul, Waiphul
  • New Year picnic @Singda #2 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Festival: Sangai Dance :: Gallery
  • Indo-Naga Talks (2012-) :: News Timeline
  • COVID-19 Status 09 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • 50th years of Manipuri Cinema celebration !
  • Nations wished to no more have war
  • Emerging career options
  • Spike in vehicle sale: Traffic chaos imminent
  • Cong making the right noises
  • Tupul Landslide site construction :: Gallery
  • Addressing skill aspirations among adolescent
  • COVID-19 Status 08 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • Military Tattoo & Tribal Dance Festival
  • Protest: Residential proof cancel to Chakma
  • Dont give up :: Poem
  • Octave 2023 : North East cultural in Chennai
  • Trigger-happy cops devil in protector's cloak
  • Inputs on road safety for all
  • My Memories of Imphal #5 : Download
  • Act East & Railway Network in Imphal
  • COVID-19 Status 07 Jan : Govt of Manipur
  • How to deal with smartphone addiction
  • e-Services Manipur: Digital India Award 2022
  • The catapult of motivation
  • The coolest winter foot care tips
  • Shumang Leela Kumhei #1 :: Gallery
  • An introduction to Manipuri Vaishnavism #1
  • Report: Lecture on Indo-Pacific Development
  • Inking peace pact by Zeliangrong group
  • The Buck Stops Here :: Poem
  • Scrutinize Licensed Gun Issuance
  • India's strategy to low-carbon development
  • Manipur Fashion Extravaganza #4 :: Gallery
  • Folk and spiritual music from SIYOM
  • Wellness for prosperous New Year 2023
  • State Level Gaan Ngai #1 :: Gallery
  • Manipur : most improved Small State
  • The New Year Resolution :: Poem
  • Aquaculture policy must for supply demand
  • Influence of football greats on the game
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #1 :: Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai festival : Read all about it
  • Welcome New Year 2023
  • MANITEX 2022 @ Nilakuthi #2 :: Gallery
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2022 #6: Gallery
  • 17th Annual Art Exhibition 2022 #3 :: Gallery
  • Nupilal Ningshing Lamjel #3 :: Gallery
  • View of Kabow Valley :: Gallery
  • Eikhoigi Yum wins awards at IFFK Kerala
  • Manipur Journalist Awards #2 :: Gallery
  • Dr Savitadidi N Mehta Museum :: Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba @ Pune :: Gallery
  • Linthoi Chanambam- Judo Player :: Gallery
  • Olympians & National awardees of Manipur
  • Downloadable Manipuri Calendar for 2023