Four years ago, India's hopes for a medal in boxing was on Vijender Singh. Fast-forward to now and the star pugilist has talented re-enforcements to share the weight of expectations and punch their way to glory at the London Olympics.
The bronze medalist at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, Vijender is now joined by Vikas Krishan and Shiva Thapa, both of whom have won accolades in international tournaments. The team is further strengthened by 5 time boxing champion MC Mary Kom and with a conditioning camp in Dublin behind them, look all set to grab personal fame and honour for the nation. "We were in Dublin for 15 days to train and acclimatise to the conditions. Our coaches have helped us a lot. Since the time qualification happened in March, we were in the Olympic mould," said 27-year-old Vijender, adding that every member of the boxing contingent is fully prepared.
Mary Kom is upbeat as well and while she admits to pressure, doing her best is of prime importance to the Manipuri boxer. "Everyone is expecting me to win a medal and that too gold so there is a lot of stress. But I will try to do my best."
The eight-member contingent depart for London on Thursday night and promise a medal-haul from London Games which is heavier and shinier than ever before.