Boxers set for cash bonanza in case of medal rush at Olympics
New Delhi: A cash bonanza awaits Indian boxers if they notch up medals at the London Olympics.
The unprecedented seven-strong contingent of men -- comprising L Devendro Singh (49kg), Shiva Thapa (56kg), Jai Bhagwan (60kg), Manoj Kumar (64kg), Vikas Krishan (69kg), Vijender Singh (75kg) and Sumit Sangwan (81kg) -- and one woman -- M C Mary Kom (51kg), is expected to do well in London given the fine form they are in.
If any one of them manages to strike gold, Indian Boxing Federation`s sponsors will give that boxer Rs 51 lakh in prize. The prize money has been set at Rs 21 lakh for silver medal winners and Rs 11 lakh for bronze winners.
The awards were announced at a chaotic send-off function organised for the boxers, who would be leaving for London on Friday to train and get acclimatised before the Games kick off on July 27.
The cynosure of all eyes was Vijender, the bronze-medallist at the Beijing Olympics, a feat that transformed the face of Indian boxing.
Set for an unprecedented third Olympic appearance, Vijender laughed off suggestions that there would pressure on him.
"There are younger guys in the group who would share the responsibility with me. So, that takes the load off me. Besides Mary Kom is also there, my hopes are on her," said the six-footer.
Asked if there was any specific strategy he has worked on, Vijender had the gathering laughing by stating, "Once you enter the ring, there are no strategies, there is only slugfest."
Vikas, who became only the second Indian boxer to win a World Championships medal last year, said he is all set to live a dream now.
"The qualifying dream has been realised, now the focus is on delivering there. I am very well prepared to show the world how good I am," said the 20-year-old.
Another youngster Devendro, also 20, said he is supremely confident of getting a medal. "I think I will definitely get a medal."
Five-time world champion Mary Kom said she would try to be her usual "magnificent" self but a lot will depend on the draw as well when women`s boxing makes its Olympic debut.
Mary Kom, if she gets an opening round bye, would need to win just one bout to assure herself of a medal.
"I will try my best and will aim for gold but the draw will be crucial. I will put in my efforts, the rest is upto the God," she said.