When after marriage and becoming a mother of twins, May Com's dour declaration to many who scoffed at her return to the ring was: "If, I being mother of two, can win a meal, so can you all. Take me as an example and don't give up."
That came true, Mary Com's glittering march in triumph thus became a model life lesson of determination and perseverance that India could showcase to the world. When the 35-plus Mary Com on Saturday at the Indira Gandhi stadium punched to pin down Croatia's Cary Hanna Okoda, she was walking into the pinnacle of an extremely rare achievement that no one can easily surpass in the near future. She became the only woman to win six golds in World Boxing Championship. Her name now gets etched together with the achievement of Cuba's legendary Felix Savon who won the highest number of golds in men-women categories combined.
Mary Com's life shines more than that of any other, because she made her way to this height of glory beating the circumstances in which so many of India's talented sportspersons have been losing. Many were the hurdles that should have stopped Mary Com's sports career: a family background of poverty in Manipur, gender bias and racial discrimination. But none of them could kill her strong will, or tire her in the path of success. One who began her boxing history in 2000 as woman boxing champion of Manipur, Mary Com went into her first break of career in 2006. But by that time she had earned fame through bumper distinctions including World Championship and and numerous medals. After becoming a mother of twins, when she returned to the boxing ring, she gave her reply to those who doubted her stamina for another bout, by wearing the crown in the World Championship of 2008 and 2010. In the 2012 London Olympics, where women's boxing was included as an event for the first time, she became a legend in India's boxing history by winning the bronze. After giving birth to her third child in 2013, she stunned the world by winning the Commonwealth Games gold and now the sixth gold in World Championship.
The axiom that no power can beat the urge to win, has once again been proven through Mary Com. She had any number of excuses to bid farewell to the boxing ring, like being a woman, an eldest daughter, a mother of three, a wife, a Rajya Sabha MP, and her age. In the Indian family-social milieu, the mythical notion dictated by the male-dominated system that a woman cannot actualize family and career ambitions in parallel, most talented females are forced to give up their life dreams due to those very reasons. Or else, in order to fulfil their dreams they will have to forsake their family and motherhood with pain: the very socially bred concept that Mary conquered. No doubt, in Mary's victories every Indian has lessons and inspiration to derive - of persistence, optimism and hard work. She has already found her place as a role model for the thousands who will create history in the future. But more than that, what will add lustre to her victory will be the example she set in making her attainments in family, career and social life equally. She was one who would advocate with high esteem, that wherever she went, and in whichever boxing ring she stood, she was also a mother. Her life will definitely be a shining beacon for not only sports stars, but also for millions of women in their effort to overcome their crises in life and to gracefully balance motherhood and their dreams.
The constant advice of Mary Com was " We should never think too much about weaknesses; always be focussed on strengths. " For that very reason, despite having reached the zenith of victory, Mary Com has not given her dreams a holiday. "My dreams have not yet fully blossomed. My dream is a gold in the 2020 Olymnpics. I have the confidence that I have the strength to make it blossom." Only history will tell whether she can wear that gold in her 37th year. Regardless she will win that or not, some Indian girl inspired by her life will punch her way to that glory. That is when Mary Com's life will become complete.