West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee, felicitated Olympic bronze-medallist, Mary Kom at Writers’ Buildings here on Thursday and presented her with a cheque of Rs.2 lakh.
The Chief Minister also handed over Rs.50,000 each to shooter Joydeep Karmakar and archer Rahul Banerjee.
Speaking at the function, Mary Kom said that she was very proud to have earned a medal for the nation.
She said the medal was an apt reward for the hard work she put in before and during the Olympic Games.
“To (even) qualify for the Olympics was very tough,” the five-time World champion said.
Pointing to Karmakar, who finished fourth in the 50m rifle prone event and Banerjee, who were also felicitated on the occasion by the State sports minister, Madan Mitra, Mary Kom said: “There are so many Olympians who failed to win medals. They need to be supported for the next Olympic Games in 2016.”
Addressing them, she said: “Don’t give up. Try to get a medal at Rio de Janeiro. (If) Mary Kom (a mother of) two kids can get a medal why not you all?” she asked.
Mary Kom was also presented with a cheque of Rs.1 lakh by Mr. Mitra on behalf of a Bangalore-based website.
Banerjee, Karmakar and table tennis player Soumyajit Ghosh were given cheques of Rs.25,000 each.
Minister of Public Health Engineering in the Assam government, Goutam Roy, said Mary Kom’s felicitation was being delayed due to prevailing unrest in the State.
“Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi will decide on the date, and the Assam government will give Mary Kom a cheque for Rs. 20 lakh,” he said.
Later, Mary Kom was also felicitated by the Bengal Chamber of Commerce.
Speaking there, she said she would like to bring India a gold or a silver medal at the next Games.
“I hope my original weight category (46 or 48 kg) is included at the Rio Games. I shall better my London performance. Otherwise, I shall fight in the 51kg category. I will soon start by preparations,” she said.
When asked how much her life had changed after winning an Olympic medal, she said: “There is so much recognition, love and admiration showered on me.
“But I have not changed. I am the same old person.”
She said her medal would help her improve the facilities at the academy at Imphal with the support of the State government.