On this Day in 2012: Mary Kom wins bronze medal at London Olympics

Mary Kom

It has been exactly 8 years since magnificent Mary gave India only the third Olympic medal by a woman. She did it by playing out of her comfort in a weight category for which she had to do a lot of changes wrt body parameters and also had to fight many superior opponents.

Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom or MC Mary Kom (as we all know) was born on 01 Mar 1983  in Churachandpur district of Manipur. She came from a poor family as her parents were tenant farmers. She used to help her parents with farm-related chores, going to school and learning athletics initially. In 1998 a male boxer by name of Dingko Singh won gold in boxing at Asian Games in 1998. Dingko was also from Manipur and that made Mary took Boxing professionally and to make a name in the sport. Her father, himself an ex-wrestler was not ready to allow her to participate in boxing as it would hurt Mary’s face and that will be an obstacle in her marriage. But after 2-3 years her father began to support as he grew convinced of her passion for the sport.

It did not take her long to make her name and in 2001 she won a silver in Women’s World Championships in 48 kg category. After that, she won medals in Asian Championships, Asian Indoor Games, and became a sensation in 48 kg category. By July 2012, she had a combined total of 9 Golds and 1 silver, which included 5 medals at World Women’s Championships. Women’s boxing was making its debut at 2012 Olympics and only in three weight categories. India had its hope of medal on Mary Kom as she was lone Indian boxer to make the cut. The biggest challenge for Mary was that she had to fight in 51 Kg (flyweight ) category as 48 kg category was not included.

Even though with all previous success, Mary knew in her mind that a podium place at the Olympics will change her life. Mary’s first bout was against a taller and physically imposing opponent but she was not getting to be affected by the intimidating presence of her opponent and started her bout well with clever footwork and gain in confidence to close the match at 19  14 and hence progressing to quarterfinals. Her quarter-final bout was very close and she landed two right hooks in deciding round to make to semi-finals.

At this point, she had already made history as was assured of a medal and only the third women after Karnum Malleshwari and Saina Nehwal to win an Olympic medal. Mary Kom lost her semi-final bout to eventual gold medalist Nicole Adams but by her bronze medal, she had become a superstar and an idol to upcoming boxers. She has won more medals after that and has a record of 8 World Championships medals. She was keen for Rio 2016 but could not qualify but she has set her sight on Olympic Gold and has quoted  “What keeps me hungry is Olympic gold. Once I win that, I think I will be satisfied”. She has secured her berth and gold would be the perfect icing on the cake.

The line that defines her is  :

“She flies like a butterfly and stings like a bee.”

Mother Magnificient Mary……