A Winner Despite the Odds


NishaJamVwal meets Mary Kom and narrates why we must look to the pugilist for inspiration and guidance in the new year

In an age where affluent parents pamper their kids, Mary Kom’s poverty, struggle, austere life and subsequent success stand out in stark contrast. We need to look at our excesses in perspective. With the onset of the new year, perhaps our resolutions must be shaped by Mary Kom’s story.
I had tears in my eyes through the fight that got Mary Kom the bronze at the London Olympics. And today when I meet her, it feels like it was yesterday that every Indian was rooting for her. Why is she special? Mary Kom, from a tribal community of Manipur, epitomises a woman who became triumphant despite all the odds. Until the very end, she fought opponents who were heavier and taller than she was. She works very hard for every single win. So does her family.
The stronger and more successful you are, the greater is the support and love you’ve had from a family behind you. In her case,a silent, strong, supportive and understated family. However much Onler Kom may deny it, he and the rest of Mary Kom’s family are the wind beneath her wings that gives her the impetus to fight and humbly promise India that she will win gold at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Her journey has been an arduous one. Inspired by the famous Manipuri boxer Dingko Singh, an Asian Games gold medallist, Mary Kom gave up books for boxing gloves. But, had to hide her interests from her family. However, all that changed after her victory in Manipur’s state women’s boxing championship in 2000.
“Boxing is not easy,” Mary says. “When I started, my male friends would say it is not a woman’s sport. But I say if men can do it, why not women? When I had two children, even my father did not believe in me, let alone others. However, my family’s love and support helped me reach my dream. It has been a tough journey. I carried on with the support of family and friends.”
She married Onler Kom and had twin sons, Rechungvar and Khupneivar. Her husband played a crucial role in her growth, and time and again Mary Kom gives him credit. Marriage and motherhood were a challenge but they turned out to be her strength. Onler stayed at home and catered to their twin sons while Mary Kom travelled the world, trying to bring laurels. After a two-year sabbatical, Mary Kom came back to win the World Championship twice.
The silent and supportive Onler pushed her to achieve her dreams. “Everyone thinks she made it because of my support,” he says,“but I am just doing my homework. Because of my love for Mary, I can cook and wash and do everything. She says, ‘If men can do it why not women?’”

In Mary’s own words…
“In my early days, my parents let me get into boxing. After marriage too, which was a crucial turning point, I received the same love and permission from my in-laws and husband to move on with my career.
“My lovely and naughty kids came into my life with greater responsibilities, but my husband sees tends to them and never lets me feel, even for a moment, that my absence has done harm to our family.”
“The hardest part of my training is being away from my kids, but there is not much I should be tensed about in managing my life as a mother and a wife as Onler is always there to follow up.”
“Competition has become so tough in every field. No matter what your career is, what matters is success. Even in boxing, come to Manipur and you will see how many boxers are embracing this sport as their career, but few go through. We’ve got to be really good to excel at it.
“Always be sincere towards your goal, work hard and never give up. Remember: God works in disguise.”

Onler says…
“It is all about understanding, respecting each other’s feelings and being there in time of need, which might need not your presence but concern.My message is: Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered and it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes. Always.”

Read more of Nisha’s point of view at www.nishajamvwal.blogspot.in, tweet to her @nishjamvwal and write to her at nishjamwal@gmail.com


Volume 3 Issue 7


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