Sinlung /
07 August 2012

Manipur Basks in Mary Kom's Medal Glory

By K Sarojkumar Sharma

Imphal, Aug 7 : Manipur erupted with pride and joy as M C Mary Kom on Monday created history and assured India its fourth Olympic medal with a resounding 15-6 win in her quarterfinal boxing bout against Maroua Rahali of Tunisia in the women's 51kg category. The Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna-awardee stormed into the Olympics quarterfinals after beating Poland's Karolina Michalczuk 19-14 on Sunday at the ExCel arena. While Mary's husband, Onlear Kom, watched the game from Delhi, her mother, M Akham Kom, watched her fight from the ringside in London.

Chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh said an award of Rs 1 crore for a gold medal winner in the Olympics from Manipur, already announced by the state, stands unchanged. "For silver and bronze, the incentive amount will be announced soon," added Okram, while expressing his happiness over Mary's victory. "Let's all pray for her golden victory," the CM said.

Residents of her native village - Kangathei - watched the bout on television with baited breath. Her brother said: "We are planning to celebrate as per our traditions and customs. We are also going to have a grand feast for all people." Mary's sister added: "We are really proud of her. We will all welcome her in our cultural and traditional glory when she returns with a medal. We have never stopped praying and thousands have joined us as well. And now we will pray for her so that she wins a gold medal."

Mangminthang Gangte, a resident of Kangathei, said: "Our joy, pride and contentment has soared because of what Mary has achieved. We will celebrate her victory in the most fitting manner. We hope she comes back with a gold."

Meanwhile, dozens of people, some beating drums, celebrated on the streets of Imphal and danced and sang, some shouted, "Long live Mary, long live Manipur." Santosh Singh, one of the cheering youths, said: "Magnificent Mary (as the 29-year-old mother of two is known) has brought fame to Manipur, the northeast and the country. We are happy with her victory and a bronze is sure for her at this stage. She will definitely punch for bigger glory in her next two big fights."

Mary's first boxing coach, L Ibomcha Singh, who first brought her into the boxing ring, said: "She got through because of her consistency. She had a tough fight on Sunday and another difficult one the very next day. I hope she beats Nicola Adams (her opponent in the semi-final) on Wednesday and gets through to the final. I have trained her since 2000 and I know she has the quality to do well, She has worked really hard in training sessions." He added: "She did what I believed he could. During Sunday's bout, Mary was a little tense. Today she did it in an excellent manner." Singh said he is confident that Mary will defeat her opponents in the next two fights.

Before departing for London, Mary said she was confident of winning a medal for the country at the Olympics. "I will try my best to win gold," the five-time world women boxing champion, had said. "She has done it. We are proud of her magnificent win. Now Mary has brought fame for the country and Manipur in particular," said M Romen Singh, joint secretary of Manipur Olympics Association (MOA). "Now we are praying for Mary's two bigger fights that would make her receive either a silver or gold. We have a strong confidence for gold and she will definitely do for it," Romen said. He added that Mary is a determined and tough boxer.

Mary, serving as additional superintendent of police in Manipur, was into athletics since her childhood days at her native Kangathei village in Churachandpur district before switching over to boxing. She is the only Indian woman pugilist to have qualified for the Summer Olympics in London. "She is a true lover of the tough game of boxing. Besides working for herself, she also grooms young players of the state in her academy christened Mary Kom Boxing Academy," Romen said.

Established in 2006, the academy has produced a number of outstanding boxers. She spends nearly Rs 50,000 per month to running the academy "We will organize accord a grand reception for her," he said, while expressing confidence that another Manipuri boxer, Laishram Devendro Singh, who has stormed into the quarter-finals, will follow Mary's feat.

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