Mary Kom bowed out of the Olympics Wednesday, going down valiantly to Nicola Adams of Great Britain in the semifinals to finish with a bronze medal.
It’s certainly not the end of the road for this prizefighter, and it may just be beginning for many youngsters in Manipur who dream of
following in her footsteps.
A disappointed MC Mary Kom after losing to Nicola Adams (L) of Great Britain in the semi-final of women's Flyweight boxing at Olympic Games in London. PTI/Manvender Vashist
A short while after the bout, when the cheers of fans across India still hadn’t died down, the sports ministry and the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation announced here that they would revamp the Sports Authority of India’s (SAI) centre in the northeastern state’s capital, Imphal — Mary’s launchpad.
Participating in the launch of a coffee table book on the country’s 30 top sports icons — a function organised by Hindustan Times — sports minister Ajay Maken asked senior ONGC and SAI officials to inspect the centre, which is in dire need of improvement and facilities.
Podcast: Mary after her semis bout
Mary isn’t the only star of this humble boxing centre at Khuman Lampak stadium.
Under coach Ibomcha Singh's tough regimen, it has produced talents such as 1998 Asian Games bantamweight champion Dingko Singh and Devendro Singh, the 20-year-old pugilist making waves at the London Games.
Devendro is now based at the Army Sports Institute in Pune though.
The announcement by Maken came after a request by Dingko Singh, a special invitee to the book launch along with Olympic silver-medallist shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.
"The ONGC will do whatever possible to improve the centre," said ONGC chairman and managing director Sudhir Vasudeva.
Satisfied with my effort | Magnificent Mary | Podcast: Mary after her semis bout | Mary Kom gets bronze