As Indian athletes aim to put their best foot forward at the London Games, their families back home are making sure that they get adequate divine assistance.
The kin of the boxers are undertaking pilgrimages to pray for their success. After all, hard work apart, there is an element of
miracle in sport, and faith is known to provide that touch.
Beijing Games bronze-medallist Vijender Singh, competing in the 75kg category, is all set to lead the Indian challenge in boxing and his family is leaving no stone unturned to help him do an encore.
Manoj Kumar, Vijender's brother, recently travelled to Haridwar as a kanwariya carrying water for Lord Shiva, to ensure that the boxer is successful in his campaign.
"We strongly believe in these things. Vijender should have all the blessings and luck when he steps into the ring," said Manoj. In 2008, too, Vijender's father undertook the journey to Haridwar to pray for his son's success.
Ditto for another Haryana pugilist, Manoj Kumar, competing in the 64kg category. His brother, Rajesh Kumar, visited the Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu and Tirupati Balaji in Andhra Pradesh.
"Religion has a strong influence on us. We believe it has the power to do a lot of things, even those deemed impossible. I wanted my brother to perform at his best, so I went to seek blessings for him," said Rajesh.
Rajesh even ensured the Balaji prasad reached Manoj in London. A cousin of Jai Bhagwan (60kg) also undertook the journey to Tirupati Balaji to pray for the boxer's success.
Meanwhile, India's star athletes, Krishna Poonia and Sudha Singh, visited the famous Radha Krishna Temple in Stratford, London to seek blessings. The temple is just a short walk from the Games Village.
Poonia said, "I have worked very hard and with Gods blessings, I will achieve my goal. I feel very peaceful and confident after visiting the temple. I prayed for the success of the Indian team and I am confident my team-mates will win plenty medals."