A hug from her husband, some muted celebration and an invitation from the Governor of Manipur for a cup of tea – that was how MC Mary Kom spent the day after being nominated for the Khel Ratna on Monday.
Among the many messages and wishes, Governor Gurbachan Jagat’s invitation touched Mary the most. “We learnt about it through a friend of ours who is in the media here,” said T Onler Kom, Mary’s husband.
“We have been flooded with wishes from everyone we know. But his gesture was very touching.”
Mary’s nomination for the prestigious award has pleased her fellow boxers and coaches around Manipur. Sharing his joy, Khoibi Salam, a famous boxing coach and vice-president of All India Boxing Federation said: “Mary Kom is the right choice for the country’s most prestigious sports award.”
“She deserves the award after her performances at the Asian and World championships,” Khoibi said. “I hope she (Mary Kom) gets a chance to represent India at the Olympics as well.”
It’s been a long three-year wait for Mary’s nomination. “I have been applying for the award from the past three years. Despite performing, I wasn’t even nominated. But this time it has finally come,” Mary, an Arjuna Award winner and a Padmashree, said.
“It was getting a little frustrating. Even after winning four world championship gold, my name was being ignored. Last year, I visited the sports minister and he encouraged me a lot,” Mary said.
There is though the small matter of her awaiting official confirmation. “Whatever I have heard is through the media. I have not been informed about the nomination officially,” Mary said
2008 being an Olympic year, it has to be seen whether she will be picked ahead of Olympic bronze medallists Vijender Singh (boxing) and Sushil Kumar (wrestling).
After all, it’s not always India have more than one Olympic medallist.