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Five facts about six-time world champion boxer Mary Kom

Published at :January 25, 2024 at 7:55 AM
Modified at :January 25, 2024 at 1:56 PM
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(Courtesy : bfi)

Gaurav Singh

Mary Kom is one of the few iconic female athletes from India.

India has several figures in boxing to celebrate but most of them are male athletes. When it comes to female boxers, there is only one undisputed name that comes up and that is Mary Kom. Coming from a humble background in Manipur, she has set several landmark records throughout her career.

Mary Kom had bid adieu to boxing on January 24, 2024, citing age limitations as per the International Boxing Association (IBA) that allows boxers to compete in elite-level competitions only till the age of 40. However, she later released a statement denying any such report.

“I haven’t announced retirement yet and I have been misquoted. I will personally come in front of media whenever I want to announce it,” said Mary. “I have gone through some media reports stating that I have announced retirement, and this is not true.”

Given the illustrious career she has had, here are the five facts about the boxer.

5. Six gold medals at World Championships

Mary Kom is a powerhouse when it comes to performance at the World Championships in boxing. She has won the gold medal on six occasions, becoming the first-ever woman to do so. 

Moreover, she is the only boxer, male or female, to have won a medal at eight world championships editions. Her gold medals came at 2002 Antalya, 2005 Podolsk, 2006 New Delhi, 2008 Ningbo City, 2010 Bridgetown and 2018 New Delhi World Championship.

4. Mary Kom has a biopic dedicated to her

The 38-year-old is one of the few athletes in India who has a feature film made on her journey to the top. Priyanka Chopra starrer “Mary Kom” was hugely successful and presented the boxer’s struggles to the masses. Omung Kumar directed the film which released in September 2014.

It depicts her journey of becoming a boxer to her victory at the 2008 World Boxing Championships in Ningbo. The movie received a lot of critical acclaim and Priyanka Chopra did a fabulous job in terms of training to play Mary on screen.

3. Mary Kom is an animal rights activist

Mary Kom is a stern believer in fighting for social causes. She is also a Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha. One of her most crucial causes is the animal rights activism. She is a supporter of the world’s leading animal rights activist group PETA. One of the biggest campaigns she was involved in was to end the use of elephants in circus performances.

Mary has also advocated the inclusion of PETA’s humane education programme into the syllabus of the students. She is of the opinion that cruelty towards animals can be avoided if children from a young age are educated and sensitized towards them.

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2. National Awards

Mary Kom is one of the most decorated Indian athletes of all time. However, among female athletes, she is one of the legendary figures who continue to inspire thousands of upcoming girls who want to make a career in sports. The Government of India has rightly recognised her contributions to the field of sports.

Mary Kom won the Arjuna Award in 2003, Padma Shri in 2006, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna (highest sporting honor) in 2009 and Padma Bhushan in 2013. Most notably, she also won the prestigious Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian award in India, in 2020.

1. Bronze at the 2012 Olympics

Winning an Olympic medal is one of Mary Kom’s biggest achievements for India at the international stage. She won the bronze medal in the flyweight category at the 2012 London Olympics. Mary became the first female Indian boxer ever to win an individual medal at the Olympic Games.

This was the first instance when women’s boxing featured as an Olympic sport, otherwise she certainly would have had the chance to win more Olympic medals. Mary Kom also qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and reached the quarterfinals stage.

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