As badminton ace Saina Nehwal took her designated seat and waited for her fellow Olympic boxing bronze medallist Mary Kom, lensmen got into the act, nudging each other for every inch of space available to get the best possible shot.
It simply showed the euphoria surrounding their success in London was yet to die down.
Minutes later, as Mary walked into the hall and greeted Saina, flashlights brightened up the hall. When the commotion ended, Saina took over. “I am happy to be here in Bangalore. I have a lot of good memories about this city,” she said.
Saina and Mary certainly will have sweeter memories of the city after Wednesday, for the two were gifted residential units on the day by Commune India and Target Games Facilities for their exploits at the London Games.
“I want to do something big for badminton in Bangalore in future,” Saina revealed, evoking big applause from the gathering. “Might be an academy or something on that lines. But I plan to do something great for the sport here,” the 22-year-old added.
Mary, the mother of twins Rechungvar Kom, Khupneivar Kom, has different plans altogether. “I think my kids will get a good education here. I can’t shift here now because I am busy working in the police department in Manipur. But I can holiday here,” said Mary. For the time being though, the duo is focusing on capitalising on their Olympic glory. Saina will return to action at the October 16-21 Denmark Open Super Series Premier.
“I will play in the Denmark Open and by the time I will have completed five weeks of training. I am feeling fresh and fully fit now. Denmark Open, which will be my first assignment after a long break, will be tough for me with all the top shuttlers taking part. For me, the opening round match will be crucial,” said the world No 4, who will then travel to Paris to compete in the French Open Super Series (October 23-28).
Mary and her husband K Onler Kom, however, is busy running from pillar to post to sort out issues in getting the land promised by the Manipur government so that the 29-year-old can build her planned academy.
“Now the academy is in our small house where 27 boxers are training. ONGC is ready to provide full support if we get the land. So we have been trying hard to get the land. We are expecting to get it done soon,” said Onler.
Union Sports Minister Ajay Maken had said on Tuesday that the Mary Kom boxing academy will be provided with international standard facilities.
Mary targets a medal from the 2014 Commonwealth Games. “I am yet to resume full training. My target is not gold but a medal from the CWG,” said Mary.