'Hope more women take up sports'

Asian Games gold medallist Mary Kom wants her triumph to be an inspiration

'Hope more women take up sports'

A beaming Asian Games gold medallist Mary Kom hoped her success would help bring a change in people’s mindsets about woman pursuing sports.An Olympic-medallist boxer, Mary became the first Indian woman to win a boxing gold at the Asian Games.

“Women are discouraged from taking sports. Even the family does not allow her to be a sportsperson. Until this mindset changes, we will not get more medals in women’s events. I hope my medal would help bring some change in perception of people,” Mary Kom, a five-time World Champion, told reporters during a felicitation ceremony by Samsung on Monday.

“After I had my third baby, everyone said that my career was over. I am happy to prove them wrong.”

Mary Kom was also declared the Most Valued Player (MVP) by Samsung through a poll, and awarded her a cheque of Rs. 10 lakh. The company also felicitated the Incheon Asian Games medal winners from various sports disciplines by presenting them with a Samsung Galaxy S5.

Samsung has supported over 40 players under the Samsung Ratna programme for the Olympics and Asiad.

Deepika Pallikal, who won bronze in the women’s singles squash event, hoped the recent success of Indians players would help raise the profile of the sport.   
“This is the golden generation of Indian squash. Joshna (Chinnappa) and I won gold in doubles in Commonwealth Games, I won bronze in Asian, Saurav (Ghosal) won a silver and gold in doubles in Asian Games. It has been a great few months,” said Deepika, who now has her eye on regaining her place in the top 10.

Yogeshwar Dutt, who ended India's wait for a gold medal in wrestling at the continental meet, wished his feat would provide a fresh starting point for his fellow grapplers. “I want that we win, in fact, we should get more medals in wrestling next time. We should not wait for another 28 years to win a gold medal in wrestling,” he said.

For shooter Jitu Rai, the last few months has been nothing short of a dream. A gold medallist in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the 27-year-old  clinched the first gold for India in the 50M pistol event. He profusely thanked the Army for playing a role in his career.

“It has been a unbelievable journey. From the paddy fields of Nepal to winning medals in these big events, I had never imagined that I will achieve so much. All credit goes to Army for taking care of my needs,” said Jitu, who is now gearing up to compete in World Cup final this month.

Later in the day, Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal gave cash awards to the medal winners present at the ceremony. The ministry released Rs. 10.88 crores for cash awards for 151 sportspersons (individual winners and members of the medal winning teams at Incheon Asian Games).

Cash awards of Rs. 20 lakh, Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 6 lakh each were given to gold, silver and bronze medal winners in the individual events.

Medal winners in team events were given cash awards not less than half of the award money payable to medal winners in individual events.

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