Boxer Manoj Kumar did not have enough financial assistance before the last Olympic qualifier in Baku, held in June. He approached many sponsors. They did not show any interest. Though Boxer Manoj Kumar reached Baku with a point to prove and defied all odds to book his berth for the Rio Games.

“For the last one year, I have no financial support. But I was so confident of the hard work that I had put in that I told them (the sponsors) that I will return with the quota. But no one paid attention to my requests. I am happy that I proved myself right,” Manoj told.

Manoj, who is now part of sports ministry’s Target Olympic Podium (TOP) scheme, trained in London for 15 days before returning to India for the final lap of training.

“I was in London for 15 days. We practiced with other boxers for 12 days. There were a variety of boxers from higher and lower weight categories,” Manoj said.

“We had to return for precautionary measures. One cannot travel for 10 days after getting the preventive injection for yellow fever and other diseases,” he added.

Gearing up for his second Olympics, Manoj said that only a medal in Rio will be a satisfactory performance. “In London Olympics, I was just happy to be there. But things have changed now. I won’t be content with just Olympic participation. There is a fire in my belly and only a medal in Rio can douse it,” Manoj said.

Manoj will have his brother-cum-coach Rajesh with him in Rio and the former feels his presence will be a big boost to his confidence. “Rajesh was with me in London and thanks to TOP he will accompany me in Brazil too. Even when I used to go home for weekends he would guide me. Now he will be with me and it will be a big help,” he said.

“Everyone going to Olympics works hard but self-confidence comes from the near and dear ones. He fills me with a lot of josh before every fight,” he added.

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    Sudipta Biswas is a 27 year old cricket fan.He started watching the game when Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid made their debut. Once had a dream of playing for the nation, now aspires to be a sports journo ! You can contact him @sudipta88dip on Twitter.

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