Bangalore: Fame and success may have rushed headlong to embrace Mary Kom of late, but she has remained humble all along. She obliges endless photo requests cheerfully, signs autographs without complaint and acknowledges every compliment with folded hands.
In the city to announce the eighth edition of the SBI Bengaluru Midnight Marathon on Wednesday, the Manipuri boxer captivated the audience with the story of her remarkable life.
“People looked down on girls in my village. They never imagined a bright future for a girl; they just sat there and poked fun at me. It made me so angry. How dare anybody say girls can’t do anything? I was hurting inside. I wanted to prove something,” she said.
Her recent Asian Games gold medal, Kom said with pride, is proof that motherhood is not the end of a career in sports. “Coming back to boxing once after childbirth was hard enough; to do it twice was exhausting,” she said. “My neighbours, my relatives – everyone discouraged me. Only my husband stood by my side. Even I didn’t expect a gold medal, but I fought as best as I could and it happened.”
Her success at 31, as a mother of three children, would inspire other women, Kom hopes. “When you have a baby, God gives you that patience,” she said. “People are always negative. My first challenge was that girls weren’t supposed to box. The second was to continue boxing after marriage. The third was to return to the ring after becoming a mother. If I can do this, why can’t you? Keep fighting.”