New Delhi: Even as they shuttle from one felicitation programme to another since returning from London, Gagan Narang and Saina Nehwal have already set their sights on improving their performance at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Feted in the capital on Friday by a sponsor of India's Olympic contingent that returned with an unprecedented six medals from the just concluded London Games, the duo from Hyderabad looked like they were enjoying every bit of it. What was reassuring for their fans was that both had the next Olympic Games on their mind.
"The colour of the medal is not very bright. I have to change the colour," Narang, who won the 10 metre air rifle bronze in London, quipped.
On a more serious note, he said: "Looking at where I am, it should be the new starting point. I will have new destinations - Asian Games, Commonwealth Games (both in 2014), Rio Olympics... Hopefully I will be making everybody listen to the national anthem," said the 29-year-old marksman.
Nehwal, whose bronze in London was India's first ever badminton medal in the Olympics, promised to do whatever it took to maintain her position in a sport ruthlessly dominated by the Chinese shuttlers. "I'm glad I won India's first badminton medal in Olympics. I will keep working hard and it will give me the motivation to win many more medals. I'll be more confident in the next Olympics," said the 22-year-old shuttler, the only non-Chinese in the women's top five.
"I narrowly missed a medal in Beijing and could not sleep properly for many days, so depressed I was. This time I played well under pressure. The next 7-8 years that I play, I have to face the Chinese players. It will be Saina v China … I hope to stay fit and continue in the same manner," she added.
Boxer MC Mary Kom, who won the women's 51kg bronze in London, cited her own example and said there was no reason why Nehwal could not continue even after her marriage. "I told Saina one day you'll marry and have kid and it was still possible to continue. All it takes is will power and support from your family and husband," said the 29-year-old mother of two.
Shooter Vijay Kumar, who won the 25m rapid fire pistol silver in London, was also present on the occasion along with wrestlers Sushil Kumar and Yogeshwar Dutt.
Kumar won the silver in the 66kg freestyle while friend Dutt, still sporting a black eye, returned with the bronze in the 60kg freestyle category.