“Don’t let anyone tell you that you are weak because you are a woman.”
These are the words of one of the most famous athletes of history, Ms Mary Kom. She is the most celebrated boxer in India and is a very well known athlete all over the world.
Mary Kom was brought up in a small village called Kangathei, in Manipur. Ever since a young age, she had an interest in athletics and sportsmanship. She used to take part in sporting activities such as shotput. However, she turned her attention towards boxing since she started following a famous Manipuri boxer, Dingko Singh. She looked up to him for inspiration and saw him as her role model. She started training for boxing and gave it her best. Unfortunately, her father was not supportive of her decision. This is because it is unusual to see a woman playing a sport that is usually taken on by men. The patriarchal nature of society thus was not in favour of Kom.
MC Mary Kom became who she is today because of her willingness and determination. She faced all adversity with a strong mind and heart. She did not bother to give in to whims of a patriarchal society and fought for what she wanted. To make matters worse, she did not even have the proper gear to support her training. So, she would often have to engage in professional street fights for practice. Soon, Mary Kom was participating in state boxing championships, where she won the gold medal. After seeing his daughter’s photo printed in the newspaper, Tonpa Kom finally started supporting her sporting career.
She consistently climbed the ladder of success. She worked very hard with her coach and prepared for more and more tournaments, where success greeted her with open arms.
In 2001, she competed in the World Championship where she won the gold medal. Her coach, Mr M.S Gill, played an important role in her career.
In 2005, she had to take a break from sportsmanship as she gave birth to twin boys. She returned to the arena in 2007, after a two-year sabbatical.
In 2012, she took part in the London Olympics. However, like any other sportsperson, she had to face loss as well-but not without reaching the semi-finals. In the coming years, she won many medals and proved her skill at the sport. She has been honoured with the Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Shri and Arjuna Award for Boxing, among many others.
She is proof to the world and society that women are stronger than most people think they are. They are strong, resilient and can achieve great heights. MC Mary Kom is an inspiration to all those women who struggle because of unfair societal norms. She is an icon and a leader to every woman, motivating them to reach for the stars.