An Exclusive Interview with Mary Kom also famously known as Magnificent Mary, an Olympic medalist and five-time world boxing champion.
Q: Thanks for agreeing for an interview with us, we are very happy to have you here. You have achieved a lot in your life, coming from a small town in Manipur yet you have succeeded against all odds and have become a role model and an inspiration to millions, can you please share with us about your early life, childhood days, education and your family?
I am the eldest child of my parents — Mr. M. Tonpa and Ms. Akham. I have two sisters and one brother. Being the eldest child, I have got enough responsibilities to assist my parents in running the family and looking after my siblings as well. I was my father’s right hand; I accompany him at works almost everywhere. Life wasn’t easy for being in a poor family but we got through by God’s Grace.
I have always been good in sports both at schools and village. I mostly am friend with boys but I was never considered myself lesser from them and I never accepted being defeated. I loved being at the village playground when free from school and household works.
I did my schooling at LCM (Loktak Christian Mission) School, Moirang till class VI and Class VII-VIII at St. Xavier School Moirang. Later, in order to get into sports, I came to Imphal and did my studies at Adimjati Secondary School Imphal.
Q: Please tell us your dreams and goals you had as a child?
As a child, I didn’t have specific dreams and goals but accomplishing every job assigned was my goal. Being born in a poor family, all struggling with lives, I always dreamed to be someone who will be able to support my family.
Q: What made you choose boxing over other careers or other sports discipline? At what age have you started boxing?
Introduction of Women’s boxing during National Games in Imphal and suggestion from my athlete coach.
Q: What was the reaction of the people close to you? Did you get any support from your friends and family in taking boxing seriously as a career?
It was hard for them to accept and digest it at first, perhaps out of ignorance on boxing. Yes, but not as much as I received in the following years. My family has been supportive ever since I convinced them.
Q: What qualities do you think has made you successful and achieved this far?
My hard working nature and firm determination and of course God’s given talent.
Q: When you were winning championships after championships, did you ever felt satisfied and contented that you have achieved enough?
Yes, I always am satisfied with my achievements no matter what the value is.
Q: Have you ever dreamt of an Olympic medal? How was the feeling before the Olympic and the feeling after the Olympic?
Ever since I started wining international medals, my only wish and dream was Olympics. I was so excited even before the Olympics bout, as my dream was already accomplished and so even more happier to have won Olympics medal.
Q: Many people in India don’t know about the North-east region and its people. Yet when you participated in the Olympics, every Indian stood up for you and cheered you on. How was it like being able to bring us in oneness?
This is the hidden spell of Sports. It is so thrilling that it let us forget barriers and divisions behind but wish and pray for our country to win.
Q: What are the positive experiences you came across being a lady in this sports discipline?
I was one of the early batches in Women’s Boxing in India. We have been a role model for many and have paved a way to this young generations today in Boxing.
Q: What are the negative ones?
Lesser facilities in trainings. It is far better now.
Q: During your low moments, what kept you going on?
The thought on my kids and a comfort of my people behind me.
Q: You have a confidant and a friend in your husband Onler Kom? How would you describe his role in shaping you who are?
He is the best friend I could ever get. He let me play with no distractions; taking care of my training schedules, deals and family. I can peacefully concentrate on my trainings and bouts in any circumstances. I need not worry on anything. He is also a good guide in every step I made this far.
Q: Many people around the world have been inspired by you and a movie is being made by famous Bollywood personalities, what was your reaction when you first came to know about it and how do you feel?
I broke myself into a loud laugh. I was so excited and didn’t give a second thought to accept it, as I knew it will give a good message to youngsters and would remain a good motivation to many.
Q: What is the road ahead for now? How are you preparing for the next Olympic game?
As of now, I will look into promoting my existing boxing academy Mary Kom Regional Boxing Foundation to full-fledged and of course the Rio Olympics too. I haven’t charted anything yet on my preparation for the next Olympics.
Q: What is the advice you would like to give to the young people?
The world today is full of distractions in almost every form and if you fail to notice and overcome them, you will end up nowhere or somewhere less preferred. So work hard with firm determination. Don’t be just you but someone who lives a life setting example for others in good.
It was a pleasure talking to you. We would like to thank you once again for giving us your valuable time. We surely want you to bring us a gold medal in the next Olympic. We wish you the very best.