As the country gears up to celebrate Independence Day today, we caught up with some of the Commonwealth Games winners who made us proud at the recently concluded event in Glasgow. They tell us that they wish to celebrate the occasion by training for the upcoming Asian Games and focussing on how they can get more medals for the country in future. Three of the many sport stars share what they felt when they were on that prized podium for India.
‘It feels like you have won the world’
When we represent our country on an international platform, we carry with us the hope of billions. The unconditional support that we get motivates us and encourages us to do something for everyone back home. When you are on the podium to receive the medal and the National Anthem is played ... aisa lagta hai aapne pura world jeet liya ho (feels like you have won the whole world). Jai Hind!
(Clockwise from far left): CWG winners Sushila Devi, Sakshi Kumar, Vinesh Phogat, Navjot Kaur, Babita Kumari, Bajrang, Amit Kumar and Pawan Kumar posed for an exclusive shoot with us at the Central Park in Connaught Place
‘Airport mein star reception mila humein’
Achha lagta hai jab saare log humein encourage karte hai aur humein mubaraq dene aate hai. When we landed, there were people with garlands to receive us. We felt like stars for once, and it was a memorable experience for us. When I was on the podium to receive the medal, the only thought on my mind was that I have done something for my country. It feels good that our efforts are being appreciated.
‘Feels like you have done something’
Mandeep Jangra, Boxer
I gave my best to win a gold for the country but missed out in the last bout. I will learn from my mistakes and will improve on my weak areas. When you get a medal at such an event, it feels like you’ve done something for the country. The only thing on my mind is to win more and more medals for the country. A message for my fellow countrymen is that one should not do drugs. Rather than smoking or drinking, it is better to get involved in sports.
‘Representing India is a big deal’
Sakshi Kumar, Wrestling
“When you get to represent your country, it is a big deal. You feel happy and proud that you’ve done something for the country. It’s the best feeling in the world when you see your country’s flag being hoisted in a foreign country,” said Sakshi, who is one of the sportspersons who is supported by JSW Sports Excellence Program.
‘Missed out on the National anthem’
Devendro Singh Laishram, Boxer
I am very happy that I won a medal in my first CWG. I had gone with a mission to win a gold medal but lost in the final bout. Had I won a gold medal, the National Anthem would have been played. I’m disheartened that I missed out, but I will give my best in the coming events. When I reached Glasgow, Scotland, I saw our country’s flag and it felt so good to see it in a foreign country. I even clicked a picture with it and sent it back home.
Kids come and say, ‘didi aapke jaisa banna hai’
When you go back to your hometown, you see kids turning up for practice before you, and when you ask them what they’re doing there, they say, ‘Didi aapke jaisa banna hai’. Achha lagta hai jab aisa hota hai. I was nervous before my bout, but after seeing Sushil Kumar and Amit Kumar win a gold each, I thought to myself, ‘I should get a gold too’. It was the only thing on my mind.
‘Bronze colour ko gold mein badalna hai’
Pinki Jangra, Boxer
“It was a big platform for me and I am happy that I won a medal for the country. When you see India’s flag on the podium, to apne aap aansu aa jate hai. You feel that the hardwork has finally paid off. For next time, bronze colour ko gold mein badalna hai,” said Pinki, who is one of the sportspersons who is supported by Anglian Medal Hunt Company.