New Delhi: Olympic bronze medallist M C Mary Kom was on Monday chosen as the Most Valuable Player of India's Incheon Asian Games campaign at a felicitation of the medal winners by contingent sponsors here.
Mary Kom, who became the first Indian woman boxer to win a gold medal in Asian Games when she clinched the yellow metal in the Incheon Games in flyweight (-51kg) class, was named the MVP after a poll.
All the 11 individual/team gold winners, including the men's hockey team, were in the contest. None of the members of gold-winning men's hockey team turned up for the felicitation event while the Indian Olympic Association was represented by its treasurer Anil Khanna.
Khanna said IOA President N Ramachandran and Secretary General Rajeev Mehta could not make it to the event as they had some "prior engagements". Wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt, pistol shooter Jitu Rai, discus thrower Seema Punia, 4x400m relay runner M R Poovamma were among those gold winners who turned up for the felicitation event.
India won 11 gold, 10 silver and 36 bronze in the Incheon Asian Games. Mary Kom said the gold in the Asian Games had proved that she can still be in her top form despite being a mother of three children.
"Many people had doubted whether I would be able to win a gold in the Asian Games at this situation. First, it is difficult in our society to continue this kind of sport after having three children," said the five-time world champion.
"There is a mindset that a woman after becoming a mother cannot achieve success in sport. But I think I have proven wrong this kind of thinking and mindset," she said.
Reflecting on her moments of glory in the final bout in Incheon, she said, "When I was inside the ring, I don't think of whether I may lose or win. I just think of giving my best.
"I won a medal in 2010 Games in Guangzhou also when women's boxing was introduced in the Asian Games. Now I have returned with a gold. I am really happy to have become the first Indian woman boxer to have won a gold in the Asian Games," she said. Yogeshwar, on his part, part said that India should aim to win more gold in the Asian Games than the lone yellow metal this time.
"I won a gold this time and that was after 28 years. It's a long wait. I feel winning a lone gold in an edition of Asian Games is not enough. India should win more than one gold in each edition so that we don't wait for long," he said. Yogeshwar said he was determined to win a gold in the World Championships next year and then train his guns at the 2016 Olympics.
"I have not won a gold medal in World Championships. That is my goal next year and then there is the Olympics next year. Every athlete wants to win a gold medal in Olympics and that is the ultimate," he said.
"I have settled down myself after changing weight to 65kg. In the three tournaments I have fought in 65kg so far, I have won gold in all of them -- the first one in Italy, then Commonwealth Games and now Asian Games."