Imphal, February 5, 2018: A five-time world and Asia champion, Mary Kom is giving back to the sport that has made her dreams a reality by giving wings to young and aspiring boxers through her boxing academy.
The academy, based in Imphal, Manipur, was launched two years ago and is now expanding. Mary Kom’s husband, Onler Karong while talking about Mary’s dream of empowering other boxers in the region with no facilities said, “Mary wanted to give back to the sport which has made her famous and this was her dream come true. 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.”
The academy is set at the foot of Langol hills in Manipur’s Imphal West district, spread across 3.3 acres and is around 10km from the center of state capital Imphal. It currently houses 45 young boxers including 20 girls.
The academy is also a Sports Authority of India (SAI) Extension Centre. It is a part of the Mary Kom Regional Boxing Foundation. Speaking of the funding, extension, and formal inauguration, Onler said, “The Sports Secretary (Rahul Bhatnagar) has come over here and has seen the facility. We have met the Minister of State at the PMO thrice and he has assured us that the PM will inaugurate it. We are hoping it will happen in a few months or anytime during the year.”
“SAI gives a monthly stipend of Rs 600 to their trainees, besides their apparel and a coach. We want to request SAI that it should also provide food. Right now, we are providing food to the SAI trainees,” added Onler.
He also spoke about the challenges they faced. He 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. Now, most of the challenges have been overcome.”
“Sustenance of the academy is also going to be a challenge but as of now, we have some sponsors who are willing to be our partners for at least three years,” he added.
Feature image courtesy: indianwomenblog.org
Source: The Hindu