Mary Kom to expand boxing academy

Mary Kom to expand boxing academy

Mary Kom to expand boxing academy

Eager to ensure that aspiring boxers get what she did not have growing up, five-time world champion M C Mary Kom is continuing to expand her regional academy here.

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 centre 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, told PTI here.

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.

"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.

The academy has a fully-equipped gymnasium, a boxing ring with a 600-seater gallery among other things.

The facility is situated just a few meters away from a dried bed of a lake called Lamphelpat. The land was given free of cost by the previous Congress state government.

Onler said, for now, the academy can accommodate around 100 trainees and Mary Kom is regularly around to monitor the progress of the wards being trained by accomplished coaches such as Charles Atkinson.

Atkinson was Mary Kom's coach during the 2012 London Olympics, where she claimed a bronze.

"She was involved in setting up the training system and gives advice and motivation to the boxers. She is helping the trainees not only in boxing but also in their personal problems," said Onler.

Asked about the challenges he and Mary Kom have faced and could face later, Onler said, "We have been facing challenges from the beginning. Initially, the academy had just 7-8 boxers and one punching bag and we do not charge from the beginners.

"Most of the boxers are from poor families and are from far-flung areas. We've to take proper care of them and groom them."