HindustanTimes Sat,27 Dec 2014
The magnificence of Mary
New Delhi, August 06, 2012
First Published: 21:00 IST(6/8/2012)
Last Updated: 21:02 IST(6/8/2012)
Five-time world boxing champion Mary Kom warms up before she practices boxing at her residence in Langol Games village on the outskirts of Imphal. Mother-of-two Mary Kom, otherwise known here as 'Magnificent Mary,' is under all kinds of pressure while aiming, as she is, at winning one of the first Olympic medals ever awarded in women's boxing. AP Photo/Anupam Nath

Not many athletes can claim to be the greatest in just their debut Olympics, but then, not many can be compared to the 'Magnificent M C Mary Kom', a living legend in international boxing much before women got a chance to show their mettle in the quadrennial event.

In fact, the medal that she assured herself today in London by reaching the flyweight semifinals is a tribute to all that the Manipuri has accomplished in a career that has spanned 12 years, most of them at the top.

Her statistics in the ring are astonishing to say the least -- five world and four Asian titles in three different weight categories, besides numerous international medals that she clinched before being catapulted to the status of a living legend by no less than the International Boxing Association.

These figures alone are, however, not the complete story of her greatness.

The 29-year-old 'pint sized dynamo' got her fourth world title, in 2008, within months of a comeback to competitive boxing following a two-year break forced by the birth of her twin sons.

And when she fought for her fourth Asian title this year, one of her sons was undergoing heart surgery in India.

But even that is not a good enough measure of Mary Kom's brilliance considering that her journey started from a remote village in the insurgency-hit state of Manipur where, not so long ago, an economic blockade had crippled normal life.

Her farmer parents describe her as a no-nonsense fiery character who, while growing up, wouldn't think twice before thrashing boys, dare they tease her and perhaps it proved to be her first lessons in landing blows.

For a while she dabbled in athletics before a certain Dingko Singh inspired her towards her true calling in life.

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Country Gold Silver Bronze Total
England 58 59 57 174
Australia 49 42 46 137
Canada 32 16 34 82
Scotland 19 15 19 53
India 15 30 19 64
New Zealand 14 14 17 45
South Africa 13 10 17 40
Nigeria 11 11 14 36
Kenya 10 10 5 25
Jamaica 10 4 8 22
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