Mary Kom of Manipur to receive Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award

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Imphal, Aug 16 (ANI): Four-time world champion woman boxer M C Mary Kom of Manipur is all set to get the country's highest sporting honour the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award.

The award selection committee unanimously approved the award to Mary Kom.

"I feel really happy. This award is a very prestigious one for a sportsperson. I believe there is no higher award than this. It is a victory for Manipur. For a sportsperson, receiving the highest award is an honor," she said.

Regarded as country's highest sporting honour, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award would be conferred on her by President Pratibha Patil on August 29.

Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom also known as Mary Kom hails from Kangathei village, Moirang Lamkhai in Manipur.

Her interest in boxing was inspired by the success of Manipur boxer Dingko Singh.

However, she took to sports in an effort to provide some financial support to her family.

A quick learner, she started her boxing career in 2000. Since then she has not looked back.

A mother of two children, she has won medals at all the five world championships held so far, including an unprecedented fourth successive gold in the AIBA World Championships held in China last year.

Mary Kom works out for five to six hours a day to stay fit.

Coming from a poor family, her success as a world champion is a testimony of her determination, perseverance and her never say die attitude.

To encourage the budding boxers of the state and those who are deprived of facilities, she has started a boxing academy under her name where she shares her boxing experiences and grooms the upcoming sports persons at her own expense.

"I want my students to be better boxers than me, to excel in the field. They have come from far-flung places of the state. They are not able to pay for their own accommodation. I am giving them free accommodation and coaching them as well," she said.

"We feel really proud that our coach is going to receive the highest sporting award," said Ngaicha, Mary Kom's student.

Her determination to make a mark in the boxing world is a source of pride to her family and friends, who are elated at her success.

"I am extremely happy and from my family side as well. I thank god for this award," said K. Onler Kom, Mary Kom's husband.

Mary Kom has several achievements under her belt. At the national level, she has grabbed ten gold medals, and in the international arena, she has collected 14 gold and two silver medals.

Apart from this, she had been bestowed with seven titles including the Arjuna Award, the Padmashree and the Indian Real Heroes Award. (ANI)

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