Mary Kom has won India’s first ever gold medal in boxing making it a most proud moment for India. Mary Kom took the third and the most important round as all three judges rule in her favour. In round two, two judges ruled in her favour. In the first round, all judges favoured the Kazakhstan boxer in the first round, who got 10-9 in her favour. Mary Kom beats Kazakhstan’s Zhaina. [Picture Courtesy: Herblife]

Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom (born 1 March 1983), also known as MC Mary Kom, or simply Mary Kom, is an Indian boxer. She is a five-time World Amateur Boxing champion, and the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships. Nicknamed “Magnificent Mary”, she is the only Indian woman boxer to have qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics, competing in the flyweight (51 kg) category and winning the bronze medal. She has also been ranked as No. 4 AIBA World Women’s Ranking Flyweight category.

According to Reader’s Digest, Kom was born to a poor tribal family in Manipur’s Kangathei village. Her grandmother named her Chungneijang, which means “prosperous” in the Kom tribe’s dialect. Between attending school, caring for her younger siblings and playing all kinds of sports including hockey, football and athletics (but not boxing), Mary Kom worked in the fields and helped her parents, both farm hands. Inspired by Manipuri boxer Dingko Singh’s gold at the 1998 Asian Games, Mary Kom moved to Imphal, the Manipur capital, to train in athletics. Dressed in torn, shabby clothes, the teenager approached coach K. Kosana Meitei at the Sports Authority of India there and asked to be given a chance. The coach remembers her practising punches late into the night, long after the others had gone to bed. Chungneijang’s goal was simple: to lift her family out of poverty and live up to her name.

Having managed that and more, and not content with her own success, 30-year-old Mary—who is married and has twin sons—has, since 2007, been teaching boxing to underprivileged youth for free.