Mary Kom Story & Life: Beating Age with Hard Work

MC Mary Kom was only 19 years old when she won her first world championship in 2001. Read how she beat age & pregnancy to achieve success.

By Anindita Paul May 13 2021 7:03PM 5895 Read
MC Mary Kom Success Story: Her Life, Achievements, and Motherhood

Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom, or popularly known as Mary Kom, is one of the most successful women amateur boxers of all times. She was born on 24 November 1982, in the Churachandpur district of rural Manipur. While she was widely successful and had won many accolades, she truly gained mass attention after the announcement of Priyanka Chopra lead biopic called "Mary Kom" (2014).

Mary Kom's success story was by no means a flowery path. She had her own set of struggles and setbacks but managed to have a consistent career. Let's take a look at her journey from very humble beginnings to the very peaks of success.

Mary Kom Story: Beginning of a Sportsperson

Mary Kom was born to parents Mangte Tonpa Kom and Mangte Akham Kom, both of whom were tenant farmers. She is the eldest of three siblings and grew up helping her parents with work-related chores.

Early Life

She did her early schooling at Loktak Christian Model High School at Moirang and switched to St. Xavier Catholic School for classes VII and VIII. During her school days, she was enthusiastic about all kinds of sports. She played volleyball, football, javelin, track etc.

Mary Kom recalls being inspired by Dingko Singh, a fellow Manipuri who had won the gold medal in the 1998 Bangkok Asian games. At that time, due to his success, boxing gained quite a bit of popularity in Manipur.

Mary Kom Story: Training

At the age of fifteen, she decided to join the Sports Academy in the state capital Imphal and moved there by herself. There she started training under her first boxing coach K. Kosana Meitei. She proved to be a quick learner and eventually switched to Manipur State Boxing Coach M. Narjit Singh at Khuman Lampak, Imphal. In the year 2000, she won her first State Championship. This was a stepping stone to her father's approval of her career path.

Mary Kom: Tally of Medals (Major Competitions)

AIBA Women's World Championships
YearMedalWeight CategoryLocation
2001SilverLight flyweight - 48 KgScranton, USA
2002GoldPinweight - 45 Kg Antalya,Turkey
2005GoldPinweight - 46 KgPodolsk, Russia
2006GoldPinweight - 46 KgNew Delhi, India
2008GoldPinweight - 46 KgNingbo, China
2010GoldLight flyweight - 48 KgBridgetown, Barbados
2018GoldLight flyweight - 48 KgNew Delhi, India
2019BronzeFlyweight - 51 KgUlan-Ude, Russia
YearMedalWeight CategoryLocation
2012BronzeFlyweight - 51 KgLondon, UK
Mary Kom Success Story
Asian Games
YearMedalWeight CategoryLocation
2010BronzeFlyweight - 51 KgGuangzhou, China
2014GoldFlyweight - 51 KgIncheon, South Korea
Commonwealth Games
YearMedalWeight CategoryLocation
2018GoldLight flyweight - 45-48kgGold Coast, Queensland, Australia
Asian Championship
YearMedalWeight CategoryLocation
2003GoldPinweight - 46 KgHisar, India
2005GoldPinweight - 46 KgKaohsiung, Taiwan
2008SilverPinweight - 46 KgGuwahati, India
2010GoldPinweight - 46 KgAstana, Kazakhstan
2012GoldFlyweight - 41 KgUlan Bator, Mongolia
2017GoldLight flyweight - 48 KgHo Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Asian Indoor Games
YearMedalWeight CategoryLocation
2009GoldPin weight - 46kgHanoi, Vietnam

Mary Kom Story: Awards, Accolades, and Achievements

  • In 2003, she was awarded the Arjuna Award for her achievements in the field of boxing.
  • In 2006, she was honoured with Padma Shri for her contribution to the field of sports.
  • She was added to the list of People of the year in Limca Book of Records in 2007.
  • In 2008, she was awarded the CNN-IBN & Reliance Industries' Real Heroes Award.
  • In 2008, AIBA entitled her as 'Magnificent Mary'.
  • She was also awarded Pepsi MTV Youth Icon Award in 2008.
  • In 2009, she was awarded the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.
  • In 2009 she was named the Ambassador for Women's Boxing by International Boxing Association.
  • In 2010, she was awarded the title of Sportswoman of the year by Sahara Sports Awards.
  • In 2012, she became Super Fight League's brand ambassador.
  • In 2013, Mary Kom was awarded the Padma Bhushan for sports.
  • In 2013, her autobiography "Unbreakable" (co-authored by Dina Serto) was published.
  • In 2014, her biopic "Mary Kom" was released.
  • In 2016, AIBA chose her as the brand ambassador for the 2016 AIBA Women's World Boxing Championships.
  • Also, in 2016, former President of India, Pranab Mukharjee, nominated Mary Kom as a member of the Rajya Sabha.
  • In 2016, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate (D.Litt) by the North-Eastern Hill University.
  • In 2017, the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports appointed her and Akhil Kumar as the national observers for boxing.
  • She was awarded another Honorary Doctorate degree (D.Phil) in 2019 by Kaziranga University.
  • In 2020, Mary Kom was awarded Padma Vibhushan for her contribution to Indian sports.

Mary Kom: Championing Motherhood

Motherhood has been an important part of Mary Kom's career. She has had to work around her pregnancies to navigate her career, but she has never let them put a full stop to it.

Mary Kom & Twins

In 2007 she gave birth to a set of twins and had to take a hiatus from competition. Her return was an adjustment, as her fitness levels were not the same as before. But she made a magnificent comeback, with silver in Asian Championships and gold in World Championships.

Second Pregnancy & Asian Games

Her second pregnancy was trickier. For starters, she was older now; she had another C-section and was required to undergo subsequent surgeries due to complications. But as she was recovering, she had her eyes set on the Asian Games of 2014. While again grappling with weight, she also mentioned in an interview, "Every bout is important for me. With the youngsters coming, I will be facing tough challenges. My job is to concentrate and ensure that the refereeing decisions don't go against me I need to regain self-confidence."

And she succeeded; Mary Kom once again created history, she became the first Indian female boxer to win gold in the Asian Games.

To Sum Up:

Mary Kom has had a glorious career as a boxer, and alongside it has also lived a wonderful personal journey. But she is not done yet, she is still preparing for future competitions and has her eyes set on Tokyo Olympics. Besides that, she wants to create a residential sports complex, to cater to the future boxers of the nation. And she is diligently working towards these goals. Her drive just shows that she is not just the "Magnificent Mary", but she is also unstoppable.

Anindita Paul
Anindita Paul View More Posts

I’m an avid reader and a wobbly but driven writer, who hopes to make her mark in the world of writing one article at a time. I am passionate about creative writing and storytelling, for me this is where my love for art meets my love for language. I am pursuing my masters in English literature, a course that has equipped me to question, comment and analyse the world from diverse points of views, and writing is how I plan to not let these skills go to waste. In my free time I can be found neck deep in meme culture foraging for my next pop-culture obsession.

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