Olympics ki Aasha: How Mary Kom's boxing journey has inspired other athletes

India's boxing legend Mary Kom
India's boxing legend Mary Kom

The name 'Mary Kom' itself says it all. She's one of India's boxing legends whose success has inspired people all over the country. Mary Kom is a mother of four kids. Despite giving birth to her children, the 38-year-old still continued with her boxing career.

Mary Kom is indeed a living legend when it comes to women's boxing. She hails from the state of Manipur, where boxing wasn't a sport to pursue for girls until Mary Kom rose to prominence with her international success. Her story of struggle has made people believe that nothing is impossible if you have that passion and hunger to succeed.

Read: Explained: Why Indian boxers are training for the Tokyo Olympics in a swimming pool instead of a ring

The six-time world champion is not only an inspiration for the budding boxers in India but also in other sports. Indian athletes like Atanu Das, Ravi Kumar Dahiya, Lovlina Borgohain, Neeraj Chopra, Sundar Singh Gurjar, Divyansh Singh Panwar and many others are inspired by Mary Kom's sheer determination and grit.

Mary Kom is one of the strong medal prospects for India in boxing at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. The biggest quadrennial event in Japan, which is slated to be held later this month, is her last Summer Games.

Read: Tokyo Olympics: Can Indian boxers add to the nation's medal tally?

Mary Kom's extraordinary success

Mary Kom had a tough childhood. She came from a poor family, where her parents, Mangte Tonpa Kom and Mangte Akham Kom, used to work in jhum fields in rural Manipur. Young Mary Kom would often help her parents with farm-related chores.

Mary Kom's legendary boxing career began in 2001 when she won her first national title at the National Boxing Championships. The following year, the now 38-year-old burst onto the international scene with her gold medal at the World Amateur Boxing Championships. Mary Kom went on to bag further 5 world titles in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2018.

Read: 5 boxers who can be India's next Mary Kom

Magnificent Mary won five gold medals from the Asian Amateur Boxing Championships between 2003 and 2017. In 2012, the six-time world champion made her Summer Games debut at the London Olympics, where she won a bronze medal and became the first Indian female boxer to win an Olympic medal.

At the 2014 Asian Games, Mary Kom clinched the gold medal in the flyweight category. In 2018, she won her first Commonwealth Games gold medal in Gold Coast, Australia.

Mary Kom's success on the global stage has been the defining moment in Indian boxing history. Her international achievements have opened doors for many budding women boxers to take up the sport irrespective of where they come from.

Read: Five most memorable moments of Mary Kom’s career so far

Mary Kom's quest for an Olympic gold

Though Olympic bronze at the 2012 Summer Games is one of her biggest career achievements, Mary Kom's ultimate dream is to win a gold medal at the Olympics. She says:

"I do have all the medals but I'm not satisfied yet because I haven't gotten the medal I want."

Tokyo Olympics 2020 will be her last Summer Games for the Manipuri boxer. To fulfill her dream of winning an Olympic gold one last time, Mary Kom has been investing all her energy and training harder to ensure that she brings home the yellow metal from the biggest quadrennial event in Japan.

Mary Kom's Tokyo Olympics campaign will begin on 25th July 2021.

Read: Indian boxer Mary Kom heads into Tokyo Olympics as potential medalist

Mary Kom's reward for her contribution to boxing.

Mary Kom's contribution towards boxing has been extraordinary. Thus, the Government of India conferred her with Arjuna Award, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan.

Moreover, Mary Kom also received two honorary doctorates from North-Eastern Hill University (2016) and Kaziranga University (2019). In 2016, 38-year-old became the first Indian boxer to receive a Legends Award from the International Boxing Association.

That year, she became the brand ambassador for the Women's World Boxing Championships.

Mary Kom runs a boxing academy, Mary Kom Regional Boxing Foundation, in Imphal, Manipur. The academy grooms and nurtures budding boxers in Manipur to help them achieve success.

Read: India at Tokyo Olympics - A golden chance for Mary Kom to say goodbye in style

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Edited by Rohit Mishra
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