Kolkata felicitates Mary Kom

Thursday

Olympic bronze medal-winning pugilist M C Mary Kom, who was in the city today to attend various felicitation events, met Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at Writers' Buildings. Mamata gave her a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh.

Shooter Joydeep Karmakar, archer Rahul Banerjee and table tennis players Ankita Das and Soumyajit Ghosh, who had all been to London as part of the Indian Olympic contingent, were also given a cash prize of Rs 50,000 each. While Ankita was not present, Soumyajit's father took the cheque on his behalf.

Kom, a 29-year-old mother of two from Churachandpur district in Manipur, was accompanied by her husband K Onler Kom as she went around the city on a rainy day.

"Nomoskaar! Aami Kolkata bhalobashi (Hello! I love Kolkata)," Kom said in broken Bengali at the felicitation ceremony organised at the Indian Chamber of Commerce by Byatikram Mass Awareness and Social Development Organisation, a Guwahati-based organisation, and Saraswationline.com, earlier in the day.

"To be an Olympian is very hard. To qualify is very hard. I am very happy and proud to bring a medal for the nation. I will try hard again for Rio so that I can get a big medal for the country," Kom said after being felicitated with a traditional Assamese Japi, a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh and many other gifts by the gathering.

Shooter Joydeep Karmakar and archer Rahul Banerjee were also felicitated and were cheques of Rs 25,000 each. Addressing them, Kom said, "Don't give up as there is always a next time. Think that if Mary Kom, a mother of two, can do it, why can't you?"

Bengal Sports Minister Madan Mitra and Assam PHE Minister Gautam Roy were present. Mitra termed Kom an "icon of the crores and crores of youths". Roy said the situation in Assam hadn't the allowed them to give Kom a proper felicitation. "The Assam government will give her a cash award of Rs 20 lakh," he said.

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