Award Name : Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna
Year of Award : 2009
Award for : Sports and Games
Location : Churāchāndpur, Manipur, India
Mary Kom is an Indian boxer who got a chance to represent India in the 2012 Olympics at London and won bronze medal in the women's fly category in that. She has won World Boxing Championship five times successfully. She ranks fourth in the world in 51 kg women’s category. For the fifth time consecutively, she won the World Boxing Championship title on 18th September 2010. She became the only woman boxer from India to be qualified for 2012 Summer Olympics. She was able to get this chance by reaching up to quarter final in 2012 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. She was born in Kangathei, Manipur, India Mangte Tonpa Kom and Mangte Akham Kom who were poor farm laborers. She was named Mangte Chungneijang at birth which means “prosperous” in her local dialect. However, she would use the name Mary in her professional career for ease of pronunciation. She first went to Loktak Christian Model High School where she studied up to class VI standard before moving on to St. Xavier Catholic School. However, she quit studies before completing schooling. Even as a student she displayed a keen interest in athletics and used to participate in sports like football. Funnily though, she never took part in boxing as a student.
In 1998, boxer Dingko Singh won a Gold at the Asian Games and made his motherland proud. This incident inspired her to take up boxing. However, the very task of taking up this sport became a challenge for her as her parents felt boxing was too masculine for a young girl. She made her maiden appearance for the Women World Boxing Championship held at Pannsylvani in USA and grabbed silver medal in 46 kg weight category. She took part in the AIBA World Women’s Senior Boxing Championship at Antalya Turkey and bagged a gold medal. In 2001, in the same event held at USA she got silver. She has won international titles at Women’s World Amateur Boxing Championships, Witch Cup, Asian Women’s Championships, Venus Women’s Box Cup, Asian Games, Asian Indoor Games and Asian Women’s Cup. In recognition of her talents, she was given Arjuna Award in 2004, Padma Shree award in 2006 and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2009. She was also hailed as the Sportswoman of the year 2010 by Sahara Sports Award and was listed in the People of the Year in the Limca Book of Records in 2007.