| Mary Kom at the cultural meet in Imphal on Saturday. Telegraph picture |
Imphal, Aug. 10: Manipur sports icons Mary Kom and Ng. Shantikumar Meitei today urged the children of the state to struggle hard to excel in their chosen fields.
“If I can, you can also excel. You may find hurdles but take them as a challenge. Hard work, discipline, determination and dedication are the keys to success,” Mary Kom told children who had come from all the nine districts of Manipur to attend the fourth annual children’s cultural meet here today.
Mary Kom, Olympic bronze medallist and Shantikumar, Mr World 2013, attended the daylong annual children’s cultural meet organised here by Manipur Alliance for Child Rights with the support of Child Rights and You, Calcutta.
Mary Kom said she won the Olympic bronze even after having two children.
“I became world champion after bearing three children. You are still very young. You all can win if you try hard despite the odds,” the boxer, now a mother of three, said.
Mary Kom is taking time off from active sports to take care of her third son.
“I was born to a very poor family. I am the last of 10 siblings. I struggled hard and the result is here. You can win if you want,” Shantikumar said.
Shantikumar is a Manipuri-Taiwanese, who won the Mr World title in the age group of 40-49 in the world championship organised by International Natural Body Building Association at Zakynthos in Greece last month.
An English teacher, Shantikumar has now settled down in Taiwan with his Taiwanese wife and four children.
He is currently in Imphal visiting his family.
The organisers brought the two icons before the children to inspire them.
The presence of these towering personalities inspired the children, who chanted, “We want to become famous like them,” in response to a question by state social welfare minister Mirabai Devi, who addressed the opening programme as chief guest.
Children belonging to different communities presented cultural programmes.
This year’s theme is Today’s Secure Childhood Ensures a Magnificent Tomorrow. K. Pradipkumar, the convener of Manipur Alliance for Child Rights, said the objective of the programme was to send a strong message on the need for a normal childhood.
“Because of the conflict situation, HIV/AIDS and child trafficking, many children are robbed of their normal childhood. No society can progress if the children do not have a secure childhood,” Pradipkumar said.