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Since 1st March, 1999
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Khel Ratna for Mary Kom

Imphal, July 21: The long wait seems to be over for champion woman boxer M.C. Mary Kom as the prestigious Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award is all set to adorn her walls after the third attempt.

The 26-year-old Mary Kom had applied twice for the award earlier, but it remained elusive. The third time, however, has proved proverbially lucky for her.

The delighted four-time world pin weight champion said last evening she had earlier applied for the award twice but was not lucky enough to beat the cricketers .

Mary said she had thought of giving up applying for the award but had changed her mind at the last moment. She had even decided to quit the sport if her case was not considered this time.

The elated boxer added that she was feeling very proud, not only for herself, but also for the state because of the recognition. She also expressed her gratitude to the ministry of sports, particularly its minister M.S. Gill, for his encouragement.

The champion boxer and a mother of two said it was very difficult to pursue the sport with dedication after having children. The driving force that keeps her on track, she said, was the understanding and support provided by her husband Onlar Kom.

She said she also owed this glory to her coaches, who moulded and shaped her into what she is today and above all, her belief in God, which has made all this possible.

At the national level, Mary Kom has so far grabbed 10 gold medals since 2000, and in the international arena, she had collected 14 gold and two silver medals.

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

Apart from Mary Kom, another policewoman boxer L. Sarita Devi has also been selected for the Arjuna Award.

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