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
What a journey it has been for me! From the day I put on the boxing gloves to fight for livelihood to the day I stepped on to the podium to receive my Olympic medal, everything has been like a dream.
But, I have put in a lot of hard work and made sacrifices to achieve my goal. Nothing comes easy on the big stage. Everything needs to be planned to the minutest detail. That's why, if we need to succeed in 2016, we must plan from today.
London has been the best showing by India at the Olympics. It would not have been possible had not all stakeholders — the government, sponsors, the federation and, of course, the athletes themselves — worked together right after the Beijing Games, keeping the Delhi Commonwealth Games as their first target.
The sports ministry then extended its support for the Olympic Games preparations as well. That really helped us, as we did not have to bother about our training and funding. Now that we have achieved our best medal haul at the Games, we should not rest on our laurels and be satisfied with six medals. If you have followed the Olympics, you would have realised that there were occasions when we were close to winning more medals.
I can speak about my sport — boxing. I sincerely believe we have the potential to win more medals in boxing. Both the women's and men's teams have been performing consistently in international events. Nowadays, when we compete in the World or Asian championships, our rivals step back and take note of our prowess.
The sport has grown in stature over the last six-seven years. The federation has become proactive, introduced new techniques and made wholehearted efforts to send us on exposure trips. That has given us good results in almost all major international meets, including the World Championships. We could have won a medal in London in the men's section too, but luck wasn't on our side. We missed by a whisker. Devendro, who also hails from Manipur, was brilliant. Vijender is an Olympic and World Championship medallist. Still, I believe we need more scientific backup to outdo countries like China and Great Britain. India has a huge genepool. We have endless talent, too. All we need is good infrastructure to double our tally.
I too have a dream. I have started an academy in Imphal. But, till now, I am struggling to get land to build an indoor hall. A lot of money is involved, but if I get support from the government or corporates, I promise to produce an Olympic medallist soon.
The writer is a five-time world champion and won bronze at London 2012