Eager to ensure that aspiring boxers get what she did not have growing up, five-time world champion MC Mary Kom is continuing to expand her regional academy in Imphal here even though a long-pending inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi remains in waiting.
Nestled at the foot of Langol hills in Manipur’s Imphal West district, Mary Kom’s Boxing Academy, spread across 3.3 acres, is around 10 km from the center of state capital Imphal. It currently houses 45 young boxers, including 20 girls, at the three-storey building.
“Mary wanted to give back to the sport which has made her famous and this was her dream come true,” the iconic boxer’s husband Onler Karong, who is the Managing Director of the academy, said.
A five-time world and Asian champion, Mary Kom is also the country’s only woman boxer with an Olympic medal (a bronze won in London 2012 Games). The 35-year-old was christened ‘Magnificent Mary’ by the International Boxing Association (AIBA) a few years ago for her stellar career, which also includes an Asian Games gold medal.
The most recent chapter of her extraordinary life journey was becoming a Rajya Sabha MP in 2016 and winning her fifth Asian Championships gold medal a year later.
“We want more academies to come up in Manipur and other parts of the country. With modern equipment and facilities, I believe this is the first of its kind in India. This is the first full-fledged boxing academy with all the modern facilities for the training of boxers,” he added.
Mary Kom and the academy are, however, waiting for Modi to formally inaugurate the facility, a request for which has been made to the PM in the past.