Yahoo India’s Person of the Year 2012 is the Indian boxer – Mary Kom! In a year which ends with Gangrape of a girl making headlines, Mary Kom, set the direction for women in India by winning Olympic glory. This is what Yahoo says about this 5 time World Champion!
This five-time world champion hand-fed her twin sons, did the dishes, and mopped her hands before she shook mine. Her handshake was self-assured and heart-warm, with just a touch of lingering moistness. It spoke reams about Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom.
In the year that women boxed for the first time at the Olympics, we haven’t stopped gushing about Mary’s hard-won bronze. London 2012 threw her an unsettling gauntlet: the lowest admitted weight category in the Olympics was 51 kg. Mary, who had won one silver and five gold world championship titles in the now defunct pinweight (below 46 kg) and light flyweight (45-48 kg) categories, weighed in at a shade under 51. And this after she had beefed up to add three kilograms to her petite, 5’2” frame. She had boxed in the 51-kg flyweight category once before – at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China – and won bronze.
In London this August she gamely took on opponents naturally taller and heavier than herself, outpunching them with the traits for which she is feared and respected in the ring – inherent aggression, lithe footwork, and organic power. First she wore down Karolina Michalczuk of Poland 19-14 and then routed Maroua Rahali of Tunisia 15-6 in the quarter-finals. In the semis the southpaw from India met her old nemesis Nicola Adams of Great Britain, who had subdued her challenge at the 2012 AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championship in Qinhuangdao, China. That, incidentally, was the first year since the championship began that Mary returned without a medal. August 8, 2012, India’s hopes for a maiden gold in women’s boxing sank as the bigger, stronger Briton overwhelmed Mary. We bit back tears when she exhaled a prayer of gratitude to Jesus Christ. We broke down when she apologized for not winning gold. But our hearts thumped with joy, our chests swelled with pride. Magnificent Mary, our invincible Spartan who had returned to the ring only a year after she was delivered of twins by Caesarean section, who had boxed three kilos above her weight category, who had risen leagues above humble birth and grinding poverty, was victorious even in defeat.