London Olympics bronze medalist MC Mary Kom was felicitated during the Darjeeling Tea and Tourism Festival at Chowrastha on Thursday.
Mary Kom has not only boxed inside the ring, once a rickshaw puller was at the receiving end of her fiery blows when he passed lewd comments.
The boxer condemned the recent rape of a 23-year-old in Delhi and urged all women to take up martial arts.
“Martial arts should not be taken up only as a sport. I urge all women to take up martial arts so that they can defend themselves to some extent,” she said. “If I can box why can’t you all? I urge women of these regions (hills) to take up the sport.”
Narrating her personal experience, Mary said: “I had beaten up a rickshawala some time back. He was passing comments and I tolerated that for sometime. However, when he started using filthy language, I lost my cool.” She, however, did not specify the place where the incident happened.
The tea and tourism fest organisers handed over Rs 2 lakh for the Mary Kom Regional Boxing Academy. “I am setting up an academy in Manipur. The state government has given me some land but we need to set up the infrastructure,” she said.
Lt. Col. (retd) Ramesh Allay (in picture), the deputy chief of GTA who felicitated Mary, said: “We have identified a plot in Kurseong for a boxing academy. We request her to help us set it up and advise us on how to run it.”
Mary’s husband K. Kom was present at the event. “It doesn’t feel nice to see my wife getting beaten up. But after so many years of boxing, we are getting used to the fact that she is involved in a sport,” he said.
Text by Vivek Chhetri,
Picture by Suman Tamang