(AUG 10) As we revealed
earlier this week, Edenderry in County Offaly, Ireland will host
an International Female Boxing sparring camp 22nd /29th August
and we can now bring the sensational news that Team India’s 22
woman squad will include the famous 5 time World champion Mary
Kom, the only woman apart from our own Katie Taylor to have won
a women’s World title at five editions of the AIBA World
MCMaryKom (courtesy MCMaryKom
This will be a dream come true
for young (and not so young) autograph hunters in or around
Edenderry in late August as Mary, who now also has her own
Centre of Excellence in her home state, has also recently
signified that not only has she no plans to retire just yet but
also she intends to try and qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games
So what do we know of Mary Kom? Her story is one that should be
a great inspiration to young women everywhere for it is by any
standards an amazing one.
The Boxing Federation of India explains here:
“Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom revered as Magnificent Mary or
popularly known as Mary Kom, is an Indian boxer from the state
of Manipur. Her parents earned their livelihood by working in
jhum fields. Growing up, Mary used to help her parents both on
and off the fields- cutting woods, making charcoal, fishing and
babysitting her siblings.
Right from her early childhood she displayed skills in athletics
but did not have the support system required to nourish such
talent. Her first public victory in boxing came in the year 2000
when she won the Manipur state women’s boxing championship. From
thereon she made her international debut at the first AIBA
Women’s World Boxing Championship in the United States, where
she won a silver medal in the 48 kg weight category. This was
followed up with a gold medal in the 45 kg class at the second
AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship in Turkey in 2002.
In 2003, she took home another medal at the Asian Women’s Boxing
Championship in India, and was awarded the national Arjuna Award
for outstanding sporting achievement. She has won gold medals in
three consecutive years (2004-2006) at separate international
boxing events. Two years later she won the fourth successive
gold medal at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship in
China, followed by a fifth one at the 2009 Asian Indoor Games in
In 2010, Kom won the gold medal at the Asian Women’s Boxing
Championship in Kazakhstan and her fifth consecutive gold at the
AIBA championship. In 2012, she competed in the women’s boxing
event in the Summer Olympics, coming in third and garnering her
first Olympic medal. SportsPro has rated Mary Kom as the 38th
most remarkable athlete in the world. In order to honour the
boxer, the lane routing to Manipur Sports Village has been named
as Mary Kom Road”.
She is also a Member of the Indian Parliament and fights the
causes of her constituents as fiercely as she fights in the
ring. She received the ‘Legends Award’ from the International
Boxing Association (AIBA) on its 70th anniversary on December 20
last . The five-time world champion, Mary Kom is also Rajya
Sabha MP now.
“I would like to thank the AIBA President and officials for this
prestigious award. This recognition from AIBA will encourage
young boxers in our country to work hard. It is a very emotional
as well as a motivating day for me,” Mary Kom when receiving her
award and of course she also has been subject of an
internationally acclaimed film of her life.
“Even after so many years, if people remember you and your
achievements it shows their generosity and love towards me.
Thank you once again for this award, it’s a memory I would
cherish for my lifetime”
As Mary Kom turns 34, she has not given up hopes of an Olympic
gold medal. She is still training hard and is preparing for the
2020 Tokyo Olympics with the dream of an Olympic gold medal.
Along with her training and hard work, prayers of millions of
Indians will always be there with her. This is what probably
keeps her going when age is not on her side, she recently told
Indian sports media outlets.
Like Katie Taylor she was once very ‘quiet and reserved’ but not
very confident and never afraid to speak out for a good cause. :
“I was the David who took on the Goliaths in the boxing ring –
and I won, most of the time.” Her fans and well-wishers will
hope that she wins for one final time at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics
and hear the Indian national anthem during the medal
The 20 strong Indian team and their coaches are using the
Edenderry Tournament as the perfect training base for
tournaments in Europe this Summer and Autumn so let us ensure
that they receive a warm welcome from all Irish boxing fans and
from the IABA and congratulations to Liam Morley Brereton and
his club colleagues for bringing such a distinguished heroine to
millions the world over to Ireland in August.
Who next for Edenderry Liam? Perhaps Katie Taylor, the only
other female 5 time world champion and who knows by the next
training camp Katie might, just might, also be a World Pro
champion? Or Claressa Shields or Nicola Adams? Lots of top
female boxers to choose from.