August 27 - Mary Kom (pictured), a four-time women's world boxing champion, has signed up with Olympic Gold Quest, a foundation dedicated to helping India's athletes, to help her with her preprations for London 2012.
The 27-year-old mother of two from Manipur, who only took up the sport in 2000, will be one of the favourites for a gold medal when women are allowed to box in the Olympics in London.
OGQ is a foundation was established by Geet Sethi, the five-time world billards champion, and Prakash Padukone, the 1978 Commonwealth Games badminton gold medallist, to help Indian athletes challenge for medals at the Olympics.
OGQ promies that it will help provides experts to systematically oversee and benchmark the progress of athletes and provide funds to them so that they may derive the best coaching, exposure through participation in International events, world-class equipment, training facilities, to exploit scientific aids and include planned nutrition and diet.
Kom said: "It is a dream for me to get the opportunity to box at the biggest stage in the world and now, the contract with Olympic Gold Quest has arrived at the perfect time.
"I know that I can now concentrate fully on my training and preparations for the Olympics without having to worry about money, medical support, nutrition and proper facilities.
"I am really happy because they have been really efficient and professional about the entire deal."
India has only ever won only individual Olympic gold medal, when Abhinav Bindra won the 10 metre air rifle event in Beijing last year, so there will be pressure on Kom, who won her first world title in 2002, to clinch victory in London.
She won the World Championship title again in 2005 and 2006 and came back in 2008 from a two-year sabbatical after the birth of her twins to clinch her fourth gold medal in Ningbo City, China, a feat that prompted the world governing body AIBA to describe her as "Magnificent Mary".
Sethi said: “The Indian Boxing Federation has been helpful and we look forward to working with them very closely to promote our boxers.
"We want to reassure Mary and all our athletes that OGQ is supporting them all the way.
"We want them to feel like champions and psychologically prepare like champions.
"We will be supporting several more athletes in shooting, boxing and badminton which will be announced within the next two months."
Other athletes that OGQ support includes shooter Gagan Narang, who currently holds the world record in the men’s 10 metre air rifle event, baminton player Guru Sai Dutt, top discus thrower Vikas Gowda and flyweight boxer Sanjay Kolte.
The foundation also supports the P.T. Usha School of Athletics.
Some of the prominent donors to date for OGQ include the Bajaj group, Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, Shitin Desai, R Ramaraj, Ashish Kacholia, Amit Chandra, Amal Parekh and Vijay Aggarwal.