Hail the comeback Queen!
The marker of a true sportsperson, they say, is in their ability to emerge victorious in spite of the many obstacles that may prop up. This time, again, India's pride—Mary Kom—has proven that even though there may be some phases of lull, she will grow from every impediment to becoming stronger and better. After Mary Kom had failed to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics, the world had virtually written her off as an aspect of the past. She had crossed her 30s, was the mother of three children and had already added significant feathers to her hat—no more reason for her to continue, was there? Our hopeless cynics were proven wrong, as Mary Kom made a stunning comeback at the Asian Boxing Championship held in Vietnam, to prove her true mettle as an undeterred sportsperson whose commitment to the ring hasn't yet lost its priority. At 34, she picked herself up from where she had last won praises, to come back and win her fifth championship gold medal in the 48kg category—the same category where she had last secured her victory at the London Olympics in 2012. The fate of women sportspersons in India has not been entirely remarkable. They are rarely assigned the respect, glamour or glitz that their male counterparts, who are uplifted to virtually occupy stardom in the hearts of common population, are abundantly showered with. However, in recent times, Sania Mirza, Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Mithali Raj, Dipa Karmakar, Sakshi Malik and their like, have set forth some cracks in the glass ceiling that has always firmly been in place, especially in the very masculine world of sports. Mary Kom has been an inspiration like none other. She spent a humble childhood in Manipur, where her parents were farm tenants. Inspired by Bangkok Asian Games winner, Dingko Singh, she took up boxing; since then, there has been no turning back. Despite taking short breaks during her two pregnancies and her marriage, Mary Kom has displayed the determination to pick up her gloves and enter the ring, time and again, to slay her opponents with her agile footwork and fine delivery of punches. Now a nominated MP to the Rajya Sabha and India's national observer for boxing, Mary Kom's role in India's public discourse on sports has palpably amplified over time. She has not only taken the sport out of the ring into the masses, she has done this while inspiring young girls to come out of their homes and enter the ring with unwavering confidence. Salute Mary Kom!