Mary Kom is One Person You Just Can’t Stop

Inspired by the new Mary Kom movie HINT:if you want to watch the video, for subtitles turn on Closed Captions (the CC button)

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by Prottusha Sarkar, Staff Writer

The name Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom is a name that few people know, and it certainly holds little meaning to a great majority of Glen Rock residents.

Known by her boxing title MC Mary Kom, Kom has inspired an entire generation of aspiring boxers all over Asia and India to fight against all odds. She is, after all, a five time winner of the Women’s World Boxing Championships, and that’s just the start.

This story started in a small village called Kangathei in the Northeastern state of Manipur in India. On March 1st, 1983, a girl was born to Mangte Tonpa Kom and Mangte Akham Kom, two rice farmers. They were poor, desperately so, and young Mary had to work alongside her parents in the fields to help bring in extra income.

However, this didn’t deter youthful Mary from taking a keen interest in athletics. Her father, an accomplished wrestler himself, signed her up for athletics at her school by taking out loans. She ended up sporadically earning a few rupees through various sporting events to help her family, which was her goal at the time.

At first, she attended school closer to home, however for  ninth and tenth grade she moved to Adimjati High School in Imphal, the capital of the state of Manipur. Here, she discovered Dinker Singh (a fellow Manipuri), a boxer who had won a Gold Medal at the 1998 Asian Games.

Singh ignited a nationwide interest in boxing, with Kom as part of that movement.  Kom soon found a boxing club in Imphal, and approached Coach K. Kosana Metei there, asking for a chance to pursue boxing. And, as many have said before, history was made.

Not only did Kom fight her way up the boxing ladder, additionally she fought sexism along the way. When Kom first started boxing, many people discouraged her from the sport by proclaiming it as ‘unladylike’ and saying that no man would wed her due to her career. She even hid it from her family at the beginning.

Kom however persisted and proved to all that women can box just as well as men. At only 18 she debuted at the first Women’s World Championship in Pennsylvania and walked away with a shiny silver medal. Soon, Mary started winning title after title, until a bump in the road.

At the peak of her career, after winning three titles, Kom got married to the love of her life. After a few months, she found out that she was pregnant and nine months later gave birth to a healthy set of twin boys.

Many people assumed that now that Kom was a mother that she would be unable to box and  that she should stay home and take care of her children. Kom refused to accept the fact that she would not be able to do what she loved and challenged the ideals of all those around her. She put up a punching bag outside her nursery, and trained for the next World Championships while simultaneously caring for her children. In 2008, she came back from a two year maternity break to snatch up yet another gold at the World Championship.

Today, Mary Kom stands as one of the most decorated Indian athletes with medals and ribbons galore. She won the gold medal at this year’s Asian Games in South Korea. She has also won the  Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna, India’s highest sporting award and the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest-civilian award.

MC Mary Kom is known as a boxer, Indian, Manipuri, mother, wife, sister, and daughter. As one can probably tell by now, Mary Kom is an impactful person. Her epic rise to the top of the world from feeble beginnings is certainly inspirational..

So go see the new movie ( with subtitles of course), Priyanka Chopra did an absolutely fantastic job as Mary,or don’t. But don’t let this story go without thought, remember her spirit and determination and remember that the next Mary Kom could be sitting in a GRHS desk.