By Rishabh Naudiyal Last Updated:
The iconic Indian boxer, Mary Kom needs no introduction as her incredible achievement in boxing speaks for itself. From being awarded with Padma Shri (2006), Padma Bhushan (2013) and Padma Vibhushan (2020), she is one of the greatest athletes in the history of Indian sports. The six-time World Champion has a long list of awards and accolades that she has received in her career. However, some records, like being the first Indian to win a gold medal at the 2014 Asian Games, being the only Indian woman to qualify for the 2012 Summer Olympics, and winning a gold medal at the 2018 Commonwealth Games, are close to her heart.
In 2014, Mary Kom’s biographical drama was released in theatres, and it was critically-acclaimed actress, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, who portrayed her role in the film. The movie was a huge success both commercially and in terms of taking a stand against the terrible condition of women in sports. Omung Kumar’s directorial touched on many heartbreaking hardships of Mary Kom’s life. However, even the 2 hours 2 minutes film was insufficient, to sum up, the difficulties and discrimination Mary Kom faced in her life like all the female sportspersons out there.
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There is one incident in Mary Kom’s life when her personal and professional lives locked horns with each other. Back in 2011, Asian Cup Women's Boxing Tournament was going on in China, and Mary Kom represented India in the same. The Indian boxer brought every other boxer to their knees and reached into the title bout, where she had to beat then-Asian Champion, Kim Myong Sim to take the gold medal home. While the hopes of an entire nation were on the shoulders of Mary Kom, she was praying for her son’s life.
Yes! You read it right. In 2011, Mary Kom’s son was admitted to the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh. Unfortunately, the young boy had life-threatening congenital heart disease and required major cardiac surgery. For the unversed, in the case of congenital heart disease, the patient’s heart has some defect and doesn’t perform like an average person’s heart. It is one of the most common congenital disability diseases in the world, and as per some reports, 69% of babies who are born with critical CHDs are expected to survive until 18 years of age only.
It was a tough situation for Mary Kom, as she had to choose between the final of the Asian boxing tournament and being with her son during his surgery. As per reports, after some discussion with her husband, K Onler Kom, the boxer decided to go for the title bout.
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It wasn’t an easy decision for the mother of three kids, but it was her husband, who pushed her to play in the final. K Onler Kom was very much aware of the hard work and dedication that his wife, Mary Kom had put in to reach the final, which was why he convinced her not to feel guilty and instead took a promise from her to bring the gold medal home.
On one side, Mary Kom was fighting against Kim Myong Sim in the title bout of the Asian Cup Women’s Boxing Tournament in China. On the other side, the former’s four-year-old son was undergoing cardiac surgery. It was a tough situation for them and their families, but by God’s grace, everything ended positively.
Mary Kom returned to India with the gold medal after defeating Kim Myong Sim, whereas her son’s surgery was also successful without any complications. As soon as Mary reached the airport, she rushed to the hospital to see her son, who was in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) after the surgery.
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In a conversation with PTI (Press Trust of India), K Onler Kom had opened up about his wife, Mary Kom's decision to play in the title bout of the Asian Cup Women’s Boxing Tournament. The doting husband admitted that he was proud of his wife for winning the gold and admitted that it was a tough decision for her to leave their son behind at such a critical moment. K Onler Kom also revealed that when their son was told about Mary Kom’s win, the little kid was happy and proud of his mom.
For the uninitiated, Mary Kom and K Onler Kom met for the first time in Delhi when the latter was studying at Delhi University. The boxer was on her way to Punjab to the National Games, and after a brief introduction, they soon became friends, as he helped her in many things at that time.
After four years of dating, Mary and Onler got married in 2005. The much-in-love couple is blessed with three kids, twin sons in 2007 and a baby boy in 2013. Not only this but in 2018, Mary and Onler adopted a baby girl named Merilyn.
Well, we are in love with how Mary Kom and K Onler Kom handled the complex situation, and it really speaks everything about the kind of bond and understanding they have as a couple and parents.
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